SAT skills or Human skills
- In the Sudbury model, kids use life to discover learning. That is so
different than the abstraction and coercion of public schools which limits
expression of intelligence.
Life learning is three things: analytical, creative, practical.
Abstract-analytical is left-brained intellect. Creative is the neocortex
guided by joy in the midbrain. Practical is the lower brain using its pure
experience of doing, mostly learned by age four.
Schools make no effort to teach them in the ways they find easiest to learn.
They quickly get the message that their skills are not valued, and start
acting accordingly and ultimately, Dr. Sternberg says, society is deprived
of their contributions.
Nor does the narrow view of skills promoted by the tests, Dr. Sternberg
believes, take into account the fact that "abilities are not something
you're born with, that are etched in invisible ink on your forehead and
cannot be changed."
Rather, he contends, research has demonstrated that abilities are modifiable
both in respect to level and kind.
"You can develop new kinds of abilities that you might not even have known
you had," Dr. Sternberg said.
...Dr. Sternberg's own theory identifies a trio of mental abilities:
analytical intelligence (the type measured by I.Q. tests), creative
intelligence and practical intelligence.
All three types of abilities, he said, are often required to succeed in
"You need creative intelligence to come up with an idea, analytical
intelligence to know if it's a good idea and practical intelligence to sell
it," he said.
But people who have superior practical and creative skills often do not
perform well on tests that reflect only analytical abilities, and thus are
deprived of educational opportunities, Dr. Sternberg says. A disadvantaged
teenager with strong leadership skills and "street smarts" well above
average, for example, might perform poorly on the SAT. Or a "creative
learner," who excels at open-ended assignments Dr. Sternberg was such a
student himself, he said might be flummoxed by multiple-choice tests or
memory tasks, ruining the chances for admission to a top-flight college.
Adding measures that tap creative and practical faculties to standard test
batteries, the psychologist argues, could benefit everyone in the long run,
and may even eliminate the need for what he sees as more flat- footed
methods of broadening admissions policies, like affirmative action.
And, Dr. Sternberg said, his research suggests that when teachers balance
analytical exercises which often dominate class time with creative and
practical tasks, students' overall performance improves.