Assessments: The Mediation of a Nation
Who says you can’t mass mediate?
Assessments. Evaluations. Surveys. Tests. Standards. Accountability. Reinforcement. Transparency. Leverage. Innovation?
This list goes on and on; round and round on the “Education of the Nation” Merry-go-round. Humanists run amuck with the cut and paste feature and the sheeple continue to text think.
What do these words really mean?
What do they mean to you, your child, and the future of our nation?
Assessments are tools to judge, to mandate, and to shape those that are being Assessed and those that function as lab assistants in the Common Core Research lab. Assessments assess the affect, cognition, values, beliefs, personalities, and a host of other variables of the participants, while at the same time, invasively shape the minds of those being assessed to bring about an “effect.” Or in the case of the systemic change engineers: “effective happy citizens of the 21st century”.
Assessments are not merely for accountability, reinforcement loops, leverage, or verification of knowledge, skill sets, or content alignment of prescribed “standards.”
Assessments, as they are now conducted, via on-line digital computer adaption are simultaneously accomplishing Mediation in real-time.
The computer adaptive capabilities, the phrasing of, and the lines of interview, (or perhaps interrogation may be more accurate), the content stimuli presented, implied meanings, innuendoes, explicit examples, chosen texts, sequencing of questions, number of questions etc., are adapted to the “lab rat”, guinea pigs, the students connected to the digital media interface:
The Digital media Assessment Mediators.
Swiss developmental psychologist, Jean Piaget (1896-1980), is noted as being the first modern psychologist to study the cognitive development of children. Piaget proposed a theory diagramed as:
Soviet Belarusian developmental and cognitive psychologist, Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) is recognized for his theory described as the Zone of Next Development (Zone of Proximal Development). This is the concept of providing tasks for students that will cause them to reach the distance between their actual manifested developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as assessed through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with capable peers.
Vygotsky believed that the role of education is to give children experiences that were within their zones of proximal development, thereby encouraging and advancing their individual learning.
The Zone of Proximal Development represented Vygotsky’s attempts to theorize the enormous plasticity of child development in order to better teach individual children. This theory is familiar as “scaffolding.”
Romanian born, Israeli based, developmental, cognitive and clinical psychologist, Professor Reuven Feuerstein (1921-present) studied with, and tutored the children of Jean Piaget.
Professor Feuerstein who is a teacher first and a psychologist second, improved upon Piaget’s theory. Professor Feuerstein, as a devout Jew, is familiar with the mediated learning experience of Talmudic and Biblical study, how the Jewish people successfully transmit their values intergenerationally, and the methods of the most effective parents and teachers use to equip their students to become independent thinkers: Mediation.
Mediators position themselves between the stimulus and the student and again between the student and the response.
Or more simply, a triangle with the three apices being: the Task, the Mediator, and the Student.
The mediator selects, filters, highlights the specific aspects of the task, being certain the student has the cognitive functions to meet the demand, or to develop specific cognitive functions that will be utilized in efforts to add these cognitive functions to the students skill set. A mediator’s goal is make certain the student is fully aware of their new skill, strategy, or cognitive function and aware of their own mental development; thinking about thinking, metacognition, knowing about knowing. Feuerstein coined the term neuroplasticity before there were functioning MRIs to document this reality.
The goal of Mediation, Feuerstein style, is to equip the student with the cognitive functions to become an autonomous thinker, with a life long love of learning.
Professor Feuerstein’s methods are focused on “creating intelligence rather than on merely measuring it.”
In the Feuerstein world (more than 80 countries successfully employ Professor Feuerstein’s Mediation methods), Mediation is accomplished face to face in real-time. Professor Feuerstein does not advocate computer mediation, for students or for training of his methods.
An accomplished mentor for many in the Feuerstein world recently commented, “You can’t mass mediate abstract concepts to children; that’s the problem with these large classroom sizes and teachers who don’t know how to mediate.
Absolutely! 5 year olds can think abstractly, in fact many children in the spectrum prefer to think abstractly or representationally. We mediate this every day.”
Unfortunately, many of the educators who would be able to mediate this are few and far between as recently highlighted via Dr. Terrence Moore’s excellent expose’ on the most recent plague of the US Education reform: Common Core “standards.” In The Story-Killers, A Common Sense Case Against Common Core, Dr. Moore also notes this lack of qualified mediators in the American public education system and the source of that lack ie. “Currently, such teachers [those who are qualified to teach the great works of literature] are not particularly welcome in the nation’s classrooms. I am referring to the fraud that is teacher certification and the monopoly education schools have over that certification.”
The driving force of mediation is the mediation of meaning. This component answers the question, WHY must I learn this? Why is this relevant? Why is this important? Meaning is provided by the mediator who shares their personal opinions, motivations, applications, purposes, and passions about this subject, concept, and strategy, process. The personal opinions and worldview of the mediator shine through in this mediation of meaning. If the mediator is not passionate about this material, why should the student care either?
The student can choose to reject these opinions, and that in itself provides more opportunities for cognitive development as they will be encouraged to defend their position. Both mediator and student (mediatee) are changed by these experiences. Learning in the Feuerstein world is a learning experience for all participants; Old and young alike. Thus our wise Jewish mentor, Professor Feuerstein, is adamant that Face to face, person-to-person mediation is the only way to truly develop intelligence in autonomous thinkers; not digital mediators.
But alas, the arch-testers of nationalized education reform (common core, longitudinal data mining assessors) have developed a nefarious plot to Mass Mediate the nation via the Assessment tests, and on-line curriculums such as that presented via My Big Campus access, affiliated apps, digital textbooks, internet sites, on-line homework sites, virtual classrooms and paperless schools etc.
This “innovative educational” digital media is in reality conducting a continuum of assessments, analyzing, evaluating, mediating and shaping the Worldview of students.
All the while, the prior mediators of education are relegated to the back of the classroom assuming their new role as informational technology (IT) facilitators. Educators are now redefined as proctors to keep the lab rats, guinea pigs, students on-line pushing the keyboard for the next “stimulus-organism-response “ Positive Behavioral Intervention System treat. Welcome to Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, College and Career Civics or any Digital Mediation of a Nation at risk.
Who’s meaning is being mediated by Digital media?
Who’s Values are being introduced, reinforced and assessed?
Who’s worldview with who’s purposes in mind?
Mediation is a tool. Just like any other tool it is subject to the human nature directing its use. Just as in the design of our Republic it was recognized that Federalism, power closest to the people, best insured that the Liberties of We the People would best be secured.
The same holds true to assessments and mediation. Education for maintaining a nation of Liberty is best secured if the mediation is conducted face-to-face, person-to-person, mediator to student; And parents at the helm of that mediation of education.
Education is all about worldview. Who’s worldview will your children receive from a technocrat assessing and mediating your child on-line?
You can’t have someone mediating your child who’s worldview does not align with your own standards, your own worldview.
Because, ultimately, You are responsible to God for your child’s cognitive, emotional, physical and spiritual development. You are the parents, and God the greatest Mediator ever has placed you in this privileged position of parenting His children.
“These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7
My people perish for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6