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Sensitive Issues


The main message: Intelligence is a multi-dimensional and multi-faceted concept. The aim of this exhibit is to explain that certain phenomena are affected by time and place, and testing is no exception. The exhibit will focus on culturally-dependent factors in testing and suggest that the whole concept of intelligence is dependent on norms determined in a given period or place. For this reason, tests are only useful if they take into account the culture-bound nature of intelligence.

Cheating, copying

The main message: A good test is one in which cheating is not possible. Wherever there are tests there is cheating – or so we tend to think. Many will admit that at some point in their lives, they were involved in some form of cheating – usually, copying from someone else, or allowing someone to copy from them. Measurement experts are supposed to prevent cheating or at least detect it after the fact. In the exhibition, cheating will not be presented as a distinct topic, but rather in the context of some other topic such as fairness, validity, or score interpretation, areas in which cheating has a damaging effect. It is not always simple to delineate what constitutes cheating, since there are cultural differences with regard to the definition of cheating. Various examples of cheating can be presented without passing judgment or conveying a didactic message in this regard, but rather by emphasizing that a good test is one in which cheating is not possible.

Test anxiety

The issue of test anxiety and how to deal with it was discussed in the international workshop. Some workshop participants were opposed to addressing this topic in the exhibition. They maintained that the exhibition should be enjoyable and avoid presenting material that might instill unease in visitors. On the other hand, teachers who attended a workshop with the exhibition team a month prior to the workshop, in fact requested that test anxiety be addressed in the exhibition. The proposal formulated by workshop participants was that the topic be included in the educational activities offered to students on class visits.




Gender and cultural differences

The main message: The issue of gender is sensitive and controversial. However, provocative and controversial issues should not to be shied away from. Indeed, including such topics could enrich the exhibition and enhance its impact. The underlying message of any such discussion is that every test has biases and a good test is not biased towards any specific gender or culture.

Suggested exhibit: Gender detector – a short test made up of questions biased towards men, and other questions biased towards women. Visitors will receive a computerized print-out which indicates their gender – as "established" on the basis of their answer patterns.

Date Created: 19/04/10
Date Updated: 17/01/11