Thursday, June 24, 2004

"I not stupid"

With a title like that, you can't go wrong with me. Via Susan Ohanian's site, I found this review of a movie about three 12 year old kids in Singapore who just don't do well on standardized testing.
Singaporean students are also known the world over for their high test scores on international assessments such as the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS.

So perhaps it wasn’t a surprise when "I Not Stupid" became a box office hit.

But many educators, political leaders, and businessmen and women here say the city-state needs more than just smart people. It needs entrepreneurs and leaders, people who don’t merely work for the multitude of locally based transnational firms, but who have the vision and courage to start and nurture them.

‘Being Nimble’
To satisfy those needs, Ministry of Education officials acknowledge that the education system must change from a traditional "learn and drill" approach to one that reflects a more Americanized style: student-directed, entrepreneurial, and creative. Other Asian countries, such as Japan and Korea, are also slowly transforming their education systems in that way.

Otherwise, Singapore will be in danger of becoming overpowered by its bigger Asian neighbors, such as Malaysia and China, say some observers.
Pertinent to me: here's still another country slowly transitioning from a culture obsessed with high test scores to one acknowledging the importance of other ways of perceiving what a good education involves.

I'll say this again. I'm not opposed to assessment and testing per se. In fact, pre-momhood, a large part of my graduate training was in that field. However, it is the horribly twisted and perverse way that the current education law punishes schools for not meeting a horrendous array of unfair requirements really gets me pissed off.