I got the chance to have dinner last night with my cousin-in-law (although, in my eyes, cousin-cousin, but that's because I gleefully adopted my husband's family as my own years ago) and her husband. We got to sit outside at a lovely Italian restaurant just outside Miami and talk about life.
One of the things that got brought up was the dumbing down of America. For instance, my cousin's husband is currently in grad school. He took the GREs maybe 4 or 5 years ago. Recently, he got to sit in on a GRE prep class. The teacher boasted how his previous-year students had the highest scores in the history of the test. He got a chance to take a practice test soon after and he soon figured out why:
The test was maybe half as difficult as the one he took in 2007.
The same way they removed analogies from the SATs, they removed a lot of the "hard" parts in the GREs.
This is how I see it: about ten years ago, we saw an influx of people getting their bachelor's. So instead of telling people "study up and get smarter," they dumbed everything down to incorporate the masses, including the SATs. Now there is an influx of people getting their master's, so instead of telling people, "study up and get smarter," they dumbed it down.
We are past, "everyone gets a trophy." We are now smack-dab in the middle of, "erase the hard rules, don't keep score, and say that everyone is a top athlete." It honestly frustrates me to no end that we have this new trend in people who are woefully uneducated, but walk around like they could get into MIT "if they wanted to."
There is currently an online "high school alternative" that is nothing more than a pat on the back and reassurance that the kid is a genius, even after he spells ridiculous with an "e".
Like I have said many times before, I take no pleasure in being told I'm in whatever-top percentage in terms of intelligence. Truth be told, that says very little about me and a TON about those around me. I feel like my IQ should be the baseline. Sometimes I'm shocked that I have enough wherewithal to be a competent adult. To think that, if we are just looking at numbers, I'm actually on one of the upper tiers frightens me.
There's a huge rant I could do about dumbing down the masses because they are easier to control -- or the fact that we teach kids to take tests, only to dumb down the test -- but that's for another time.