Re: TJ Prep Course
trying to get this
Date: January 01, 2011 11:16AM
The world's just not that simple
If I practice being a fighter pilot before I sign up, I'm more likely to be accepted
If I practice carrying heavy objects, I'm more likely to get a job as a lumberjack
If I practice crosswords, I can begin to recognise patterns in a quizmaster
If I practice the behaviors of test taking, I'm likely to be better at tests
If I practice setting up companies, I'm going to get better at setting up companies
There are very few things that you can't get better at with practice - to a great extent its about understanding the 'meta' of the task - what do you do when things go wrong, what's really expected, when to abandon part etc
In particular, our brains have evolved to learn from experience, practice and model building - that's just the way our minds work. Designing tests that are not influenced by exposure is almost certainly as much of a doomed enterprise as polygraphs
So, what the TJ test is partially measuring is how much experience kids have taking their particular TJ test? What if they change the test design and the test prep course doesn't account for that? Tests come in many forms. Maybe the test design needs to be changed every year so that the playing field is leveled for kids who can't afford the test prep course? Or maybe kids who have had the test prep course should have to divulge that information so that the field can be leveled for that aspect. I don't think the test is equal to the above analogy because once you get into the school, you are hopefully learning completely new information (not what is on the test). If you practice being a jet fighter ahead of time, you already know how to do it and why would you then go to the school again to learn it?
Also, you bring up this point---"designing tests that are not influenced by exposure is almost certainly as much of a doomed enterprise as polygraphs". I'm not sure I quite understand this---but if we are all about tests and exposure to previous models, who is going to be creative and dream up the innovations of the future? Aren't TJ students supposed to be the innovators and creators of the future? Your quote would make sense if it were about exposure to the actual material in the test (the knowledge base), but if it is about the design, it's flawed.