Naom Chomsky on Testing and Assessment

01/03/17, 9:16 PM

As a member of LinkedIn, I do have the opportunity every once in a while to find highly appropriate and timely educational materials.


It was almost serendipitous then to find a post in the World Innovation Summit for Education – WISE area which was sponsored by Graham Brown Martin and featuring Noam Chomsky on his views regarding assessment.


I can appreciate Chomsky’s commentary for several reasons.  First and foremost is the issue of credibility – Chomsky clearly meets those standards and I’m not sure that all the assessment guru who promote testing as the single viable answer to educational assessment share that kind of theoretical credibility.


Second, the notion that Chomsky sees assessment as action is important to me.  He clearly sees that problem solving and innovation happen in real world situations, not in the contrived situations inherent in testing and in test delivery.  At the same time, Chomsky gives a kind of credibility to testing, as it is an important part of learning assessment; however, testing is not the sole determiner of educational attainment.  There’s more.


How different would educational assessment and education itself be if the mandate were that every student complete one or more significant social learning projects while in school?  As human beings, we don’t really remember the day we took the state assessment; but we will remember the day that we organized and carried out a community tree planting event. 


And, the community tree planting event can be placed into a reflective portfolio ever so much more easily than the score on a single test.

I am pleased to post that link here – and the seven minute video is well worth watching.



<iframe src="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

Assistance ToolbarSmallerLargerlineSans-SerifSeriflineBlackOnWhiteWhiteOnBlacklineDetailslinelineResetlinelineCollapse