Website owner: James Miller
On the practice of giving entrance exams for entry into secondary school
In the United States and most European countries children attend five or six years of elementary school (sometimes eight years here in the US) and then after completing elementary school the student may or may not go on to attend a secondary school. In the United States, any student who completes elementary school can go on to High School (i.e. secondary school). In Europe, most countries (England, France, Germany, Russia, etc.) require students to take entrance examinations before they can enter secondary school. If they don’t score high enough on the exams, they are forced off into some kind of vocational school curriculum. This is wrong! Terribly wrong! It is a terrible injustice to a child! By this system, on the basis of a battery of tests at an age of around 11, the child’s entire future is decided. His income, way of living, his level of living. That is not right! The educators appear to have the presumption to assume that on the basis of a set of tests given at that age they are able to measure a person’s general mental capacity — measure his ability to do well in difficult studies! What presumption! (“You didn’t score high enough on our test! You can’t do it! You don’t have the ability. You are too dumb!”) They have taken on themselves the role of gods! As though mental abilities are things that are fixed and can’t change with time! As though effort, determination, and perseverance mean nothing in our ability to accomplish difficult tasks! As though the mind can’t be stretched and improved with discipline and effort! It all sounds like the idea behind the IQ test. Measuring someone’s intelligence. Ranking people according to some test-determined measure of mental ability. It is foolishness! (We have all heard it. “John is more intelligent than Joe.” What is intelligence? Tell me! And you can measure it?) What presumption! I find this idea extremely disturbing! Who is behind this?! Psychologists. Psychiatrists. Eggheads grossly lacking in sense! I detest them! I think they are responsible for untold injustice and wrong in this world! They have done more harm than Hitler or Stalin! I personally suspect that I would have flunked such entrance tests had they been given to me at that age. I always dreaded tests. Especially those with time limits. I was naturally slow and the tests of high school and college always had time limits. Tests with time limits are designed to screen out people like myself. Because I was so slow I often was unable to finish them due to running out of time. I felt one ought to have as much time as he needed. I always felt myself under high pressure and stress when taking a test and I can’t perform at my best when under pressure. To think best I need to be relaxed. High school and college were very stressful experiences for me. You cannot measure a person’s mental capacity with a test! I would have been dammed to a drab, dismal life of menial work if I had had to go through a system that required entrance exams for entry into secondary school. I think of all those tens of millions of people in Europe who didn’t score high enough on that crucial entrance exam! They have been grossly wronged! You talk about social injustice in this world! This is social injustice! Perpetrated by “scientists” (pseudo-scientists) and educators. With hard work, determination and perseverance a person can cope with the most difficult of college studies! By these entrance exams, these countries are screening out people like myself! People with certain personality traits. How unfair! When these children are given these tests they have never even been given a chance to try a subject such as algebra or geometry. How do they know how well the child can do on such a subject? This system blocks these type people from discovering and developing their personal potential in life. That is a crime! Everyone needs to be given a chance! I think their system is designed to favor certain types of people: people who are quick learners with good memories, but who don’t dig beneath the surface. It favors gullible, naive followers — people who don’t question, examine, think. And it favors those children who are early starters — those who do well in school from an early age. I was a late starter. There have been many famous people who have done great things who have been late starters. You have to give late starters a chance. Often the early starters are the ones who do the worst in life. At the age of 11 a child is still young and immature. He may not have studied as much, or as hard as, he ought to have or could have. He may not have built for himself as good a foundation as some others. That is not reason to give up on him. He may have had poor teachers. He needs to be allowed to redeem himself. To toss someone into the trash heap at age 11 is wrong! Terribly wrong!
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