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Multiple Intelligences and Your Child

Schools and Testing — Current Environment

Once our children join the mainstream education system, you may find that many teachers and educational programs, especially in the public school system, are geared strictly towards Verbal-Linguistic and Math-Logical intelligences. As such, most teachers do not have the funding to pursue programs that actively support other types of intelligence and children who are not oriented to these "classical" types of intelligence end up under performing or losing interest altogether.

While some would claim the use of standardized testing in schools is a beneficial tool for gauging progress of all students in a particular grade, they in fact can do more harm than good.

Under a standardized test model, a child's progress, or lack therein, may be determined by a very few number of questions. In some recent tests, the difference between a children being rated at a grade level of 3.9 (where 3.9 translates to grade three, ninth month) versus 5.0 (grade level 5), was less than 3 correct questions. For a fourth grader, three right or wrong answers could very well set the tone for how this student is treated for the rest of her educational "career".

Second, the scores a child previously received may influence the teacher's continued expectations of that child. This is a natural, albeit unfortunate, byproduct of standardized testing, as students who scored in a higher echelon are treated as overachievers and, of course, those in the lower echelon are marked as underachievers.

Lastly, under new federal guidelines, a school's funding is closely tied to their students' progress and the mechanism for judging success is, you guessed, based on standardized test results. Whether by design or dysfunction of the system, teachers are essentially being told to "teach the test". This is a terrible signal to send our children as the level of retention and actual knowledge they are taking away from school becomes questionable.

While these issues outline a number of concerns that all parents should be guarding against, there certainly are some proactive steps that can be taken to prevent these issues from hampering your own children's progress.

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