Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cheating Watches and Calculators

Just when you thought you'd seen it all something new comes along. This is almost beyond my comprehension because they are actually marketed on Amazon as "cheating watches".

Anyone who gives in-class tests will now need to monitor student's wrists to see if they are wearing one of these cunningly designed cheating devices. They even have "panic buttons" that can be pressed to reveal a regular watch face that shows the time.

The deeper significance of this whole scheme is the way the popular culture  now views education primarily as achievement, success and failure. It seems that success, as measured by tests is the goal of education regardless of whether students are learning anything. The ability to succeed on tests is more a function of  the ability to memorize or retain specific information than it is about meaningful learning.  Here's what you can get on Amazon so that you can cheat your way to an A grade. There are even cheating calculators for sale as well as watches.

There's a neat story in the Atlantic, When Success Leads to Failure  that highlights a teacher's dilemma when she realizes a friends daughter has lost the love of learning because she is so focused on test and exam results, and grades.

The bottom line is that if you cheat on an exam you might get a good grade but you will certainly not have learned the information well enough to use it to your advantage later in life. Your temporary success will lead, in the long run, to failure  

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