Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reductio ad TOEIC score

In a meeting…

Chair: The level for passing should be set at TOEIC 600.

Member: One of my students only has a TOEIC score of 550 but he can summarise the plots of Hamlet and MacBeth. And he’s interesting to talk to. He should pass.

Chair: It’s simpler to stick to numbers.

Member (grumbling): Sounds an economic simplification. Language used to be taught through literature, then it was the communicative approach, now it’s reduced to achieving a TOEIC test score. Isn’t language ability a collection of skills more complex than that?

Howard Gardner:
Multiple Intelligences
A single measure to measure a range of behavioral skills? Haven’t we been there before? In the 1950s, IQ was reduced to an average of one’s maths and verbal abilities. Howard Gardner showed there are multiple intelligences. Perhaps there are multiple skills in language too?

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