Standardized testing (and its evil offspring, IQ testing) are an expression of people’s desire to determine other peoples’ worth without having to actually get to know them. It’s pervasive, and unfortunately it’s better than some alternatives because it turns out that a lot of people will simply reject a client because of their skin color, gender, attractiveness, etc. In other words, standardized testing may suck but it’s not as bad as letting other people make hiring/admission decisions.
The whole topic is endlessly depressing. I suppose it’s better than nothing, but it just spawns a gigantic game of cheating, preparing/cramming, and studying to the test. Those practices, naturally, benefit the better-funded more than the more “intelligent” or the merely diligent. But that’s hardly the worst of it. I don’t think I can scream “burn it all to the ground!” without a replacement; the answer I’d suggest, which is a tiered performance evaluation similar to an apprenticeship is too expensive.
To me, hiring processes and admissions processes presuppose the value proposition backwards: having a job at this company is something you should aspire to, rather than that this company ought to be happy to have a good employee. And, of course, a university should be happy to find a good student, rather than someone who had good credentials on the rowing team, etc. None of this is realistic, though: universities ought to be happy if they get students who are not raving racists or fascists, who descended from a wealthy donor.
The worst argument – the very worst – is this one: [guard]
One of Japan’s most prestigious medical schools has admitted deliberately altering entrance exam scores for more than a decade to restrict the number of female students and ensure more men became doctors.
Because women get pregnant, see? The presupposition being that Japanese men, apparently, cannot be arsed to help a woman with reproductive duty, and that women are unable to handle the difficulty of juggling kids and work.
It said similar manipulations had occurred for years because the school wanted fewer female doctors, since it anticipated they would shorten or halt their careers after having children.
They could have factored in that female doctors are less likely to trigger massive sexual harassment lawsuits, or to kill or assault someone. That’s just statistics, folks.
They had a formula:
The investigation found that in this year’s entrance exams the school reduced all applicants’ first-stage test scores by 20% and then added at least 20 points for male applicants, except those who had previously failed the test at least four times.
How did this all come to light? I bet if you think for a fraction of a second, you’ll be able to guess. But let me spoil it for you:
The manipulation was revealed during an investigation into the alleged “backdoor entry” of an education ministry bureaucrat’s son in exchange for favourable treatment for the school in obtaining research funds. The bureaucrat and the former head of the school have been charged with bribery.
I wonder if universities will ever catch on and down-rate the applications of rich kids, because they are more likely to be corrupt or corruptable, because of their parenting. Never mind leaving school to have kids: corruption scandals really hurt your precious university’s precious reputation. So suppose you have a student who becomes a doctor but takes a few months maternity leave – how exactly does that damage the university? You just put someone else’s butt (perhaps someone with rowing credentials or a cabinet minister’s son!) in that seat and carry on. And if they’re in the work force and decide to take maternity leave, that’s not the university’s business – it’s between the employee and their employer.
In case you’re wondering (and I know you’re not) why there aren’t more women in Japanese medicine, well, perhaps now you have an answer.
The lawyers also said that the university’s former chairman and president had received money from the parents of applicants whose entrance exam scores were padded, according to Kyodo.
There was an ancient Japanese custom in which someone who fucked up really badly would kill themself by shoving a sword into their abdomen and slicing themselves open. But seppuku was tied to class/caste; for these guys maybe the Yakuza custom, of apologizing by cutting off a finger, would be better suited.