Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Standardized Tests Do NOT measure Creativity

If you have been reading my posts you will know of my concern with the loss of creativity and innovation among our school children. With all the focus and pressure to obtain the goals for the federal and state standardized tests I’m wondering if we want all our children to be the same. Are there standards for music, arts, vocation, drama, etc…? How do we determine their GPA or ACT/SAT scores?

Newsweek Magazine had an article recently (http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/10/the-creativity-crisis.html ) that stated students in the USA creativity scores are falling. However, last week I read an article in the Detroit Free Press stating some state scores are on the rise? In the Newsweek article it states that every generation the IQ of our students rises about 10 points but creativity testing now shows a decrease.

Newsweek defines creativity as the production of something original and useful, and says it requires divergent thinking (generating many unique ideas) followed by convergent thinking, in which those ideas are combined into the best result.

Well qualityg needs no scientific testing I just watched the children around me and for a long time I have seen the decline in creativity among our children.

Last month while I was working on my mother in law’s computer I had a chance to see and hear my young nieces and nephew (ages 5- 11) playing in the backyard. As I listened and watched them play I had forgotten how much fun kids have when they are left alone to play, explore and make up games as they go. No adults standing over them to make sure they throw the ball correctly or play the game according to the rules.

When I think of the well-known inventors, artists, authors, etc… most of them were different, they had a passion for what they were doing and I bet they also had fun! They were not part of the status quo based on “Standards” that are supposedly good for all of us. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not for throwing away the standard testing completely, I’m just not willing to do it at the expense of sub-optimizing the creative talents of the children. There needs to be a balance between creativity and intelligence and there is none in our educational systems today.

Just before the get together was ending my sister-in-law came in and showed a web-site that displayed the artwork of my niece had done at school, being in fourth grade (age 9) I was amazed at her talent (I was discouraged from being an artist in the first grade, the Nun did not like my coloring and stuck me under her desk and kicked me periodically during the day, it was the end of my art career, but I did do well blocking kicks on the football team).

I believe a big part of the problem is the over scheduling of children's free time (Guilty as Charged). Kids are run from one lesson to another, from adult organized sports to child care programs that structure the whole day. They don't have time to think, to dream, to create their own games and act out their own stories, or to make things out of nothing. Look at out sport systems today. When summer starts many parents already have the camp dates for basketball, volleyball and football. This does not include the travel teams that kids play on during the week and the tournaments on weekends. Some try to fit in a vacation but that is usually planned out by the hour or day because someone decided we had to do this or go see that in order to have fun and be creative.

Now let’s add to that the planned mess when school starts and the focus and concentration on standardized test scores.

I can remember getting up in the morning during the summer or on Saturdays during school and going out after breakfast and not returning until dinner or the street lights came on. We played baseball and many other games with a variety of balls (football, basketball, dodge ball, kick ball, etc.). We made up games on our bikes and invented new ways of getting neighbors mad as we played Man from Uncle as we ran through yards and jumped fences in order not to get caught (tackled).

Yeah, my kids are smarter than I was when it comes to standardized testing but they never went on a bike hike that lasted all day or went down by the river and rode on ice breaking in the spring or hopping trains to Ohio. There was some Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in all of us when we got creative.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Empolyee Goals & Objectives "again the big hitter"

It's amazing that every July and January over 90% of the visitors to my site are searching on Employee Goals and Objectives or some derivative.

No wonder Leadership is still in trouble when so many employees have to search for how to formulate a plan or objective for measuring goals.

It is simple - "What gets planned and measured gets done" - greg campbell

1) Employee Goals & Objectives - 90% +

Other Categories for June & July
2) Quality Tools & Techniques (Especially SIPOC Analysis & Pareto Charts)

3) Education

4) Leadership

5) Autism - ASD Mainstreaming

What I find most interesting is that "Employee Goals and Objectives" is not one of my main labels and the hits are world wide and not just in one area like the United States or Germany.

Employee Goals & Objective continue to be the most misunderstood of all Management and Employee Tools. They remain a once, twice or four times a year exercise in futility that brings no meaning to employee or boss all the way up the corporate ladder.

One should click on my Label for Dr. Deming to learn from the Master about Employee Goals and Objectives.

How sad that open communication and trust can not be tolerated in the workplace. People with numbers who have no sense of "Predictability" (Number One Skill of a Manager) and continue to Tamper with both human and corporate systems.

Below are some Links to some of my more popular posts on this subject:




For more posts on this subject click on the label to the left "Employee Objectives & Goals"

Good Luck & Remember - When you meet with your boss ask the following:

"By what method or data did you determine my ranking and rating or did you pull it out of your butt?" - greg campbell

Thousand and thousand of people have visited the above links (and more). I wonder if my methods and examples are being used and credited to me (I do have a copyright tracker)? Who cares I provide these examples because ratings, rankings and goals pulled out of the air are as useless as the leaders who believe in them!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Michigan has no educational leadership - "Stupid"

qualityg says ... "Wisdom - in this case meaning "Common Sense" sounds stupid to stupid people who do stupid things."

It continues to amaze me that the Michigan's leaders in education (except Kalamazoo), and how they follow each other like Lemmings when it comes to creativity and innovation – THEY HAVE NONE!
I am referring to proposed cuts in education and job training. Why do we sacrifice our future for present and past mistakes? The reason is because our leaders have no foresight except the next election or the next bottom line quarterly report.

Another reason, it has to do with incompetence and taking the easy road out to make them look good. Why can’t for once leaders represent the people you SERVE! In case you don’t know who they are they are your constituents.

We never learn, result measures for education improvement and business measures go month to month, quarter to quarter and year to year (MEAP Tests). Like traffic accident reports these are nice to know (What) but in education I never see action plans and measures (How) to improve the system. Newspaper results give us the "What and the Who" but never the "HOW."

Short term educational results are not an indicator of good leadership. Business leaders for years have shown us that it is easy to show results by cutting training, removing workers and providing meaningless measures.

Current educational result measures do not help students learn math or how to read. They make no contribution to improvement. They only make conversation of ignorance. In short they are STUPID!
School accreditations and assessments are nice but the attention and focus given by leaders are before, during and for a short time after the accreditation or assessment is done. In between the visits, reports and so-called improvement measures it’s business as usual and no means of actual improvement is done except for annual standardized reports that are not process improvement but a means used for recruitment brochures.

Certifications and Assessments of an educational system (school) are result measures. School official’s year and after provide results and “cursory” plans that have no structure, time or means of measurement to show they are implementing process improvements or if they do that they actually work.

Education Improvement will not come from accreditations or certifications, it will only come through improvement to the on-going improvement of the system (end-to-end) and this can not be done through actions that are result driven and not a combination of process and result measures led by an “active” leader.