Posted by: danreich | May 12, 2008

What’s the point of exams?

The industrial revolution created more than just automobiles, factory lines, and blue collar jobs. It created a structured day. The 9 to 5 with allocated time for lunch. Most people experience this routine daily in their own workplaces, and this is all a result of our education system. Just think back to your high school routine.

This same system also builds us for productivity, efficiency, and accuracy (I am writing this post in my college library, watching students do whatever is necessary to get A’s).

And there is nothing wrong with this. We should all strive to do our best. At the end of the day, we should give ourselves the best opportunities possible. The best chance for that great job.

But when it comes to our education, should A’s constitute “the best”? A simple measurement of how right or wrong you were in any given specified topic?

We are now in an era that can not and will not survive of off productivity and efficiency, but can only survive off of innovation and creativity. You cannot turn on the news today without hearing about global warming, dependence on oil, broken education, a looming recession, broken government, broken health care, global competition,….the list goes on.

And as I sit and watch all of these students (still in the library) cramming their brains, striving for that “A”,…is this the generation responsible for fixing all of these problems? A generation that was literally built for that 9 – 5 job? A generation that was rewarded based on the amount of A’s they had on their report card?

We are now in a global economy. American productivity is rivaled by cheaper labor, longer hours, and minimal wages, all taking place over seas in exponentially growing economies such as China and India.

We also face significant local, regional, and global issues on the micro and macro levels.

How does America compete and address these challenges? How does my generation compete and address these challenges?

Innovation. Creativity. (Sir Ken Robinson gives a great talk on this at a TED conference).

Does our current education system encompass these necessary virtues? Are we preparing our citizens for tomorrows society?

I now have to return to my studies so I can try and get that “A”.

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