Let me just quickly introduce you to Lev Vogystky, the “father of Soviet psychology.” He believed the value of an individual came not from the individual themselves but rather the individual’s place in society.
As an individual only exists as a social being, as a member of some social group within whose context he follows the road of his historical development, the composition of his personality and the structure of his behaviour turn out to be a quantity which is dependent on social evolution and whose main aspects are determined by the latter. Already in primitive societies, which are only just taking their first steps along the road of their historical development, the entire psychological makeup of individuals can be seen to depend directly on the development of technology, the degree of development of the production forces and on the structure of that social group to which the individual belongs. Research in the field of ethnic psychology has provided incontrovertible proof that both of these factors, whose intrinsic interdependence has been established by the theory of historical materialism, are the decisive factors of the whole psychology of primitive man.” Vygotsky, L. 1930: Socialisticheskaja peredelka cheloveka. VARNITSO, the journal of the All-Union Association of Workers in Science and Technics for the Furthering of the Socialist Edification in the USSR (emphasis added)
While serving the Soviet government Vogystky and his team developed psychometric testing for young children.
What are psychometrics?
Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits, and educational measurement. The field is primarily concerned with the construction and validation of measurement instruments such as questionnaires, tests, and personality assessments.
In other words, what are you good at, where are your strengths and weaknesses.
Today these tests are mainly used in the corporate world to find where an individual would best fit in a companies structure. Back in Lev’s day these tests were used to see where a child would serve within the state. It looks like we’re about to go back to their original intent.
Linda Darling-Hammond, good friend of Bill Ayers, is a follower of Vogystosky. She is also a senior research advisor for the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Her philosophies on education are found throughout SBAC.
As you research the SBAC you find a lot of disturbing references to psychometrics. They don’t even attempt to hide it.
In Idaho’s MOU with SBAC page 4 (attachment 6) we find psychometric data.
Here are just a few of the other SBAC documents that talk about psychometric data:
- The SBAC Governance Document
- The March 2012 SBAC Quarterly Report
Just google SBAC and psychometrics and you’ll find pages of information.
What does all of this mean to you and your child?
The SBAC tests (the tests your children will be taking here in Idaho next month) are not just a measure of your child’s knowledge, it goes far beyond that. We’re headed toward an education system that quickly funnels our children into workforce training in a specific field at a young age. They are no longer students being taught how to learn. There isn’t going to be time to give them a broad, liberal-arts education. They won’t have time to explore and expand on what they find fascinating or inspiring. Instead they are a gear in a larger machine, important only for the tasks they can perform.
This is one reason organizations like the Chamber of Commerce support Common Core. If the education system provides workforce training businesses no longer have to pay for it. (Don’t get me wrong, I think every child who graduates from high school should be able to count back change at McDonald’s…)
This is Marc Tucker’s dream. No longer will we be a “messy” society where competition in the job market pushes individuals to know more, be better and work harder. Instead, we will become orderly, organized human capital, ready and waiting to perform whatever task for which a test in the eight-grade told us we had an aptitude.
My sister had a friend who grew up in the Czech Republic during the days of the Soviet Union. In the eighth-grade she was given a test. The test determined she would be a good doctor or engineer. Those were her choices for life. Period. Is this sounding familiar?
Need any more reasons to opt your children out of the tests?