Testing Someone Else’s Intelligence: From Regimentation to Freedom
This article discusses the trend in the development of testing from maximum regimentation of the test-takers’ activity (where they solve problems clearly formulated by the creator with a single correct answer) to diagnostic problematic situations that are very new and indefinite with an open beginning and an open end. With increasing frequency, the open beginning used in testing presupposes a freedom of independent formulation of one’s own research questions of the reality being studied and a search for answers while interacting with that reality. The emergence of mass testing of exploratory behavior is a reflection of the conviction that one of the key abilities that will be required in the very near future is the ability to cope with uncertainty and novelty, including by actively investigating them.
The discussion deals with the problems of testing intelligence and creativity in conditions of novelty and uncertainty, including the “judging problem.” It is pointed out that any thinking test, especially a test of creative thinking, is also an implicit (albeit perhaps not conscious) claim by its developers that their wisdom is virtually unsurpassed. After all, it is assumed that any person’s intelligence and creativity that unfold in a new situation may be described in the context of the model produced by the creative intellect of the test’s developer and, hence, by a more powerful “superintellect.” The errors that are practically inevitable with such an approach can be corrected in a dialog among various groups of researchers or, to the contrary, may be deepened if criticism is shut off.
The article analyzes a fundamental methodological error of creativity testing—the “standard list of creative answers” drawn up by the test-maker in advance, against which the participants’ solutions are checked. This error is explored in the case of an invention-oriented task in the international scholastic test PISA 2012, based on which the education ratings of countries are constructed.
An optimistic thesis is offered: no matter how successful testing is, humankind will never be fully prepared to determine its creative potential, due to its forward development. Without diagnostic tools, however, it will be far less prepared; they are a new and important part of that potential.