Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cary Clack

Jacques Barzun, . . . at age 98, knows more about all there is to know than any human being I know.
— Cary Clack, “TAKS dishonors the true educators”, San Antonio Express-News, April 16, 2006

Mr. Clack’s article quotes Barzun’s 1962 essay on “The Tyranny of Testing”:

Multiple-choice questions test nothing but passive-recognition knowledge, not active usable knowledge. Knowing something means the power to summon up facts and their significance in the right relations. Mechanical testing does not foster this power. . . .

If the tendency of such tests is to denature or misrepresent knowledge, to discourage the right habits of the true student, and to discriminate against the original in favor of the routine mind, of what use are such tests to a nation that has from its beginnings set a high value on instruction and the search for truth?

See also Barzun 98.