Testing Testing: Social Consequences of the Examined Life
Cambridge University Press
F. Allan Hanson
"America is awash in tests", says Allan Hanson. "In a very real sense, tests have invented all of us". This challenge to what might be called an American addiction is both an expose and a warning. From childhood on, Hanson points out, Americans are subjected to one test after another. What happens as their intelligence, character, aptitudes and behavioural traits are constantly probed and weighed? How is the information used, and how are people defined by their test results? These are some of the questions Hanson explores, noting that although societies have always had institutions that define and control their members, testing is unique. It provides more knowledge about individuals than has ever been available before. "They", the testers - schools, employers and law enforcement agencies, for example - have nearly god-like status. The author explores what can be done to control them.