Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More on creativity and slippery metrics

John D Cook has a interesting take on the whole creativity question. I'm not sure that I accept the premise that schools have as much influence on these factors as people think. But it does bring up an interesting point of the tail wagging the dog.

On of the classic criticism of scientific management is that they took a good idea (try and find measureable metrics of business success and failure) and turned it into a myopic focus on what is easy to measure in a spreadsheet. As a result, they focused on easy to measure metrics of success and, in the process, tended to neglect things that are hard to measure.

It's obviously true that creativity is a slippery and hard to measure concept. It is hard to, for example, design a standardized test around it. I wonder if part of the issues of education reform come from a focus on what can be measured and not what is important?


  1. Perhaps it's not coincidence that the increased emphasis on constructing an education system around standardized tests happened at roughly the same time arts and music programs have been gutted.

  2. It might be a necessary simplification for public discourse but it really does seem like education reformers need to step back and explain why the new system will be better. The point about art and music (notoriously hard to test on standardized tests) is a very good one . . .