Why Schools Test Often

The latest Science:

We modified the dictator game … and studied how inequality acceptance develops in adolescence. We found that as children enter adolescence, they increasingly view inequalities reflecting differences in individual achievements, but not luck, as fair, whereas efficiency considerations mainly play a role in late adolescence. …

We assumed that there were three salient fairness views in this situation: strict egalitarianism, finding all inequalities unfair; meritocratism, justifying inequalities reflecting differences in production; and libertarianism, justifying all inequalities in earnings. … The large majority of 5th graders were strict egalitarians, and, remarkably, there were almost no meritocrats at this grade level. In contrast, meritocratism was the dominant position in late adolescence, and the share of strict egalitarians fell dramatically. The share of libertarians was stable across grade levels. … From 9th grade, … efficiency considerations played a more important role for males than females. (more)

This seems support for my view that frequent school scoring serves the function of making kids accept dominance and inequality:

At school, our kids are rated and ranked far more often than most adults will tolerate, even though this actually slows their learning! It seems that modern schools function in part to help humans overcome their (genetically and culturally) inherited aversions to hierarchy and dominance. Modern workplaces require workers who are far more accepting than are foragers of being told what to do when, and of being explicitly ranked, and our schools prepare kids to accept this more primate-like environment. (more)

The evidence strongly suggests that students learn better when they are not graded and certainly not when they are graded on a curve. (more)

Subjects worked on different tasks and received performance-contingent payments that varied in amount from small to very large relative to their typical levels of pay. With some important exceptions, very high reward levels had a detrimental effect on performance. (more)

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