Increasingly, I see things that speak to cultural insanity. Yet, one form of cultural insanity transcends national boundaries: the entrance exam as a mark of prestige. Today, the New York Times relayed a story about the Gao Kao, the SAT of China.'
More broadly speaking, we tend to value the expedient nature of single identification. If someone can do X (and really, only X), then that qualifies them to do alpha, beta, gamma and 7. Not only do these claims fly in the face of causal formal logic, single gateways deny equitable opportunity. When I speak of single gateways, I speak of admissions procedures that have only 1 form of evidence. By evaluating people only on one or two snapshots does not serve either the person being evaluated nor the entity doing the evaluating.
I find it unfortunate that the need for quick identification stems from the magnitude of the evaluative task. Any form of evaluation for entrance stems from making a judgment call regarding perceived trajectory after gathering a collection of some sort of snapshots taken over time. But people will always defy any sort of predictive power, especially when we ask them to be creative.
But how can evaluative behavior service creative individuals?