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Is Testing Knowledge Alone Not Enough?18:44
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A student prepares to take a standardized test. (biologycorner/Flickr)
A student prepares to take a standardized test. (biologycorner/Flickr)

The cheating scandal at Harvard has prompted a flurry of questions about academic honesty, the pressure to succeed and campus culture.

But some observers have also been asking:  Should we penalize students for collaborating on an assignment? Farhad Manjoo argued that while outright plagiarism is indefensible,  collaboration on assignments should be encouraged, not penalized:

[T]oo often in higher education, such collaboration is either given short shrift or actively penalized. Students are instead forced to find the answers on their own, in marked contrast to how they’ll be expected to behave once they graduate.

Leon Neyfakh of the Boston Globe took this idea a step further by looking at alternative testing. He suggestedt that students should be measured  on their creativity, resourcefulness, critical thinking and collaboration:

Being successful in today’s world, as we all now recognize, requires more than an ability to think quickly and recall facts on command. And our education system has, however fitfully, moved to address those values. The problem is that our tests still lag behind.

As Neyfakh reports, researchers across the country are working on  tests that could measure those "soft" skills.  Some are even being tested in Massachusetts classrooms right now — and could one day shape what students learn and what future workers can do.

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This segment aired on September 21, 2012.

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