College is not testing for intelligence.

by theaudiencespeaks

in 1950 Allan Turing invented a sensible test of intelligence. It’s original intention was to test for sentience and intelligence in computers. The test is simple. A panel of judges–who are assumed to be sentient–talk anonymously to a series of computers and other humans (who are also assumed to be sentient). Then the judges individually vote on the sentience of each participant. If a computer succeeds in convincing a high enough percentage of judges that it is sentient and intelligent, then for all intents and purposes there is no need to deny the computer is sentient and intelligent.

Compare this test to how colleges in america test for the intelligence or comprehension of its undergraduate students. If you walk into a testing center on any college campus today you are likely to run into a scan tron bubble sheet. These tests focus on rote memorization of facts and procedures. They do not test for conceptual comprehension. These tests could be passed easily by one well programmed computer.

If it isn’t a scan tron test it is an essay. Essays are slightly better. However, in the drive to make all testing fully quantifiable and objective, essays are often evaluated on aspects of grammar, length and the mentioning of a standard set of talking points. Programming is quickly catching up and soon there will be plenty of computers who can synthesize essays which can meet these objective and quantifiable standards.

The best test colleges have are a review board. However, even these tests seem to suffer the same effect of becoming quantifiable and objective.

Colleges are not testing for intelligence and comprehension. They are testing to see if students are computers… Is there a solution? Why not a version of the Turning test?

The Audience