- Subject: Personal Information
- From: George Sheridan <learn@JPS.NET>
- Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 17:57:46 -0800
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
Searching the archives, anyone interested could discover that I have six
children, two of them still in elementary school. Four are adopted; several
have neurological handicaps. Under current law, two have no chance of
graduating from California high schools. One had very high SAT scores
(although his math score was not as high as his English score, because he
got too interested in the math questions).
I have posted all these facts, some of them more than once, because they
seemed relevant to particular discussion threads on this list.
Until now, I have never mentioned that I am the same height and weight as
Abraham Lincoln, and the same age (54) as Lincoln was when he was shot.
This information is relevant to the primary students whose classrooms I
visit in costume each year around February 12. I publish it here now to
demonstrate that one can be neutral and objective about personal data. I'm
not proud of my height. I didn't do much to achieve it. In some
circumstances it is an advantage; sometimes it is a disadvantage. It's just
a fact. My blood pressure is low. I'm pleased, but not proud, because I
haven't done much of anything to bring about this result.
Most of the discussion of personal test scores has been like my report on
my height. Someone reports a fact and perhaps points out that the test
score is not a measure of personal merit or of teaching ability. It is odd
that George K. Cunningham persists in interpreting such comments as a form
On this list, we've been told quite a bit about the children, spouses,
ex-spouses and in-laws of other list members. A fraction of this
information has been shared because the poster was proud (and rightly so)
of his or her family. Some came because the poster was fed up and needed
to vent. In some cases the writer was seeking help. In others, the family
member was a clear example of a particular point the writer wanted to make.
No inference can be drawn about the writer's attitude toward a subject from
the mere fact that he or she chooses to write about it.
There are things of which I'm proud, but none I can recall are
quantifiable. (Or, where some related numbers exist, the numbers kind of
miss or distort the point: A teacher may be proud of his work, but it would
be odd to base his pride on the number of students he has taught.)
Black Oak Mine Teachers Association, CTA/NEA
Garden Valley, California
"Intelligence, in short, is not a thing but a behavior. It is not something
we possess but something we do."
British psychologist Ken Richardson, in his book The Making of Intelligence
(Quoted by Evans Clinchy in a forthcoming book)
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