A recent observation by Thomas Hoerr, editor of ASCD’s MI Newsletter, that standardized tests of academic ability remain in full force in MI schools got me to thinking: How is a school system supposed to reconcile the use of these tests along with their goal of valuing all students’ multiple intelligences? Are we sending the message to students (faculty and parents, too) that these two intelligences (AKA IQ) are of real importance and real consequence while the other six intelligences are nice, but of lesser importance?
I worry that if MI educators don’t offer a comprehensive MI alternative to academic tests as the sole and most prized measures of school quality that MI will be forever marginalized. Are we just standing by as the mighty engine of IQ continues to drive school improvement efforts in a way that is unbalanced and unfair?
This question is important today as states move from NCLB to Common Core testing. Will these new, more rigorous tests drive even more teachers to teach for the tests while devaluing the less important intelligences?
If large, public schools are to see MI as anything more than an exotic and “boutique” idea, they need a way to judge school quality for the value that educators bring to students’ development in all eight intelligences. Can measuring musical appreciation or dance choreography be effectively equated with calculus?
Or is this too radical of an idea?? Does this undermine the established hierarchy upon which schools are so firmly erected? If so, isn’t this exactly what MI leaders should be doing if education is to be equitable across the spectrum of intelligences?
To read a longer version of this post, click A Challenge for MI Leadership