Bruno Castro de Sa Damaso
Professor Barbara Brewer
April 14, 2013
The ongoing reforms implemented in high school face a hurdle the society refuses to discuss: the entrance exams for colleges. The exam, which admits students for universities, in it, is not the main villain of the narrow way that gives access to university, but it helps in a lot of our deteriorating educational practice. According to official data from 2011, from every thousand students who enter in the first year of elementary school, 680 get in universities. But the test drives teachers from high school to reduce the technical condition in memorizing.
The fact is that theoretically the pedagogical concept that applies is most high school courses and in almost all of the examination preparation courses of admissions is the conceptual basis of the Behavioral School. This theory holds that a person, if conditioned daily, ends up acting as his previous trainer. Burrhus Frederic Skinner, an American psychologist, behaviorist, inventor, social philosopher and an inventor, was one of elaborators of this theory. He believed that intelligence was just an adaption in half and the conditioned reflex would be correct development of the stimulus act. He was a firm believer of the idea that human free will was actually an illusion and any human reaction was the result of the consequences of the same action. In case of a bad consequence from your action, there was a high chance that it would not be repeated, however if the consequences were good, the actions the lead to it would be reinforced. That is what he called the principle of reinforcement. Skinner influenced education as well as psychologist in both his ideology and literature. He favored active learning in the sense that students were not just passive recipients of information given out by teachers. He was convinced that all students had to take action: “to acquire behavior, the student must engage in behavior” (Skinner, 1961, p. 389). Today we know, intelligence is not just about technical information, but the capacity that a person has, and its ability to solve an unusual problem.
The entrance examination prevents the development of intelligence because it requires an excessive amount of information. How do most of high school teachers solve this demand? Adopting questionable methods of instruction and conditioning such as “simulated tests”. The “simulated test” is repetitive actions of exercises and problems that have being already employed in passed entrance exams for colleges. It is the conditioning program. The student makes “simulated tests” with keyword related to the expected response. Two issues stand out in this work. The first relates to the notion of scientific truth. These days, a scientific truth lasts on average three years to be developed. It’s an error, therefore, making a person to answer a scientific problem answered in ten or fifteen years ago. The second problem is that the teacher can instruct the student to answer tests, but not educates for life. The globalized world requires new problem solving capacity, the opposite of conditioning. To make a mental reflex, total discipline is required. But to create it is necessary freedom and even a pinch of indiscipline. The “simulated tests” disarticulate the mental exercise of human creativity. They’re lousy educational resources. The Scholastic Assessment Test, the SAT, it’s seen as good way to get into colleges because it takes into consideration more then just a simple test. There are two basics exams, prepared by institutions that a student takes during high school. They can choose where, when and how many times do the test. Usually, they prefer to do it in the last two years of high school, because they feel more prepared. The American College Test (ACT), is a English, mathematics, Sciences and text comprehension. The SAT brings math and English questions. Some universities