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article imageOp-Ed: No wonder you’re morons — Harvard kids can’t do open book test?

By Paul Wallis     Feb 2, 2013 in World
Sydney - I didn’t believe this when I read it. 60 Harvard students forced to withdraw for cooperating on an open book test? What the hell? Open book tests are for getting good academic numbers. They’re the KFC of academia.
Like those “please pass” SATs, they’re the hot popcorn of the intellect, even for grade schoolers.
Slate reports from its hilariously titled “There Is No Harvard Cheating Scandal”-
What’s the point of prohibiting students from working together? If the students in “Introduction to Congress” act as these test rules demand when they move into the workforce, they’ll be fired. Outside of academia, teamwork is the rule. Collaboration is widely hailed as a primary factor in creativity and problem solving. It’s the reason Pixar’s offices are designed to foster, in Steve Jobs’ words, “forced collisions of people” from different departments.
In this case, it’s the test’s design, rather than the students’ conduct, that we should criticize. In allowing students to consult a wide variety of sources, the Harvard exam was looking to assess something deeper than how well they could memorize and recall facts. Judging from some leaked questions, the test seemed to be designed to measure how students could think about some of the contradictions inherent in American government. (An essay question began, “Do interest groups make Congress more or less representative as an institution?”) But if you want to determine how well students think, why force them to think alone?
Well, what's the point of being an individual and having your own name? According to Slate, the students should be “celebrated” for cooperating on a question which is at Ultra-Dummy level for anyone who can read and understand what they’re reading. How in the name of partisan politics could that be a hard question? This is a measure of “how students could think”? Are they kept in containers between classes? Do they read the news?
Since these are the people who are going to be screwing up the planet in future, is there any basis for raising this bar above its current one inch above the floor level? How dare anybody not understand such a basic question?
What, are they supposed to be hired in classes, too? This is what they get for all that money, a ridiculous imitation of a basic education? Has Harvard become yet another processing factory, coming up with more bland academic cheddar?
They thought they were allowed to cooperate. What comes next, building communal nests and laying eggs?
“Teamwork is the rule”. Sure it is. There are no careerists, no office politics, no withholding of information and privileged access to information in the United States workforce. What sort of damn mouthwash is this? You can almost hear the thunderous goosesteps.
Let’s get something straight, you fag ends-
In a real career, you can stick those jingles and all the frat crap in any part of your anatomy you like. That’s not the real story.
Employers tend to require more than groupthink from people they’re paying big money. They could go out and get the book themselves if they were expecting “open book finance” for example.
“Team” means “uncompetitive”. How do you feel about a career based on learning how to be uncompetitive? I ask because that’s what you’re getting, from the look of this farce. You also get the benefit of working with the dummies and the freeloaders. Great career training, Harvard. How the hell did anyone in one of the world’s top colleges even get the idea of doing this?
The only positive I can see out of this woeful example of non-delivery of academic product is that it explains American media. This is why some rodent in a suit can get away with saying cutting taxes “won’t affect revenue”. It’s why constant denials are an accepted part of public debate- Because nobody’s literate enough to make the equation from someone denying an obvious fact and credibility of the denial.
Slate continues in its remarkably naïve, apparently Listerine-inspired way:
Outside of Harvard, these students won’t face many situations in which they’ll be prohibited from consulting with other people. … teaching people to work together is a critical skill.
Er, yeah. Particularly if you’re an ant or a termite.
Do you know how popular people who ask other people do to do their jobs for them are?
Do you know what social pariahs those who expect someone else to do their thinking for them are?
Do people advertise jobs for those who haven’t got a damn clue and ride on the backs of everyone else?
So the score so far is-
Personal ignorance and lack of effort is excusable if it’s called teamwork.
Harvard has students who don’t get a question as basic as that example.
It takes a class to understand the question and hack out an answer.
Very impressive. Global leaders of the future, too damn gutless or talentless to come up with their own answers to basic questions? Media making apologies for pure, undiluted inability to manage those questions?
Can’t you just see Einstein doing Relativity-
“Vell, vat does you zink E shouldt equal, already?”
“Big boobs… “
“Giggle, chuckle, belch”
“Ja, zat verks. Now vod about zer cube, zen?”
“She’s really cute.”
Tell yez what, Harvard- Come back when you either grow up or find another gig, like selling magazine subscriptions. This load of crap will never cut a damn thing. Even in theory, this incident should never have happened, and you know it shouldn’t have happened. This is brand suicide.
And Slate- You want to do apologia, pick a subject where you’ve got a chance of winning the argument.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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