WASHINGTON -- Dan the baboon sits in front of a computer screen. The letters BRRU pop up.
Absolutely fascinating! Reminds me of Planet of the Apes (the actual book not the movies).
Of particular interest to me was the realization that the experiments astonishing findings were in large part due to changing the testing technique. By taking the testing environment out of testing discovery of the possibility that the previous testing paradigms themselves may have been responsible for increasing the margin of error in previous results. This reminded me of my journalism days when an important rule (used to be considered important anyway) was that the actual reporting of the news should not affect the news being reported. This meant that journalists using techniques now known as gotcha questions were putting the actual persons involved in a story in situations where their reaction to ambush style journalism made them appear to be what they may not actually be.
I was recently at a major literacy conference where the keynote speaker said something that at first I was almost ready to dismiss as hogwash, yet something about his comment that (paraphrasing) "we sometimes cause learning disabilities via the ways we mistakenly assume are assisting our students."
If baboons can do more than our testing previously showed they were capable of, does this mean that since our testing was without fault, the baboons must be smarter today than they used to be? Or does it mean baboons may be pretty much as smart today as they've always been, but our testing methods weren't as "without fault" as we believed they were?
And, of course, to be clear I am speaking of baboon testing not student testing.