Even if you aren't much of a Jeopardy fan, you most likely heard about the rout that took place on the show the week before last. An IBM computer named Watson soundly beat two all-time Jeopardy champions. After day two of the three-day drubbing, we pondered what effect Watson could have on education. Not surprisingly, the folks at IBM have thought much deeper on this question than we have.
Stanley Litow of IBM believes Watson could revolutionize educational testing. Here's what he toldThe Chronicle of Philanthropy:
In the United States of America, we have something called the common core standards that have now been developed in more than 40 states. We’re now developing new standards in science, math, history, and English. But if you’re still stuck with the same multiple-choice testing, even if you have higher standards, it won’t raise people up, it will dumb things down so people base their teaching and learning on those multiple-choice tests.
The technology behind Watson blows that up. It says you could have long-answer questions, you could have the ability to grade lengthy paragraphs of information. If the testing system incorporates that, it will allow teachers to test to higher standards and children to learn at higher levels. And it will save lots of money in what is currently a very ineffective and inefficient testing and assessment system.
Could Watson save us from the bubble test?
Disclosure: IBM is a member of Change the Equation.
(Hat tip to the Huffington Post.)