Though this symposium on the advisability of psychological tests in education was originally planned to have two pro and two con speakers, the unforeseen absence of two participants (including the convener) made the debate among the speakers less heated. In fact, the first three speakers directly concerned with the topic were uniformly critical of psychological, and especially norm-referenced, tests. Kubota (Miyagi College of Education) criticized standardized tests for two reasons. First, those situations used in the tests are often far removed from real life. Secondly, these tests rarely guide us in teaching individual children, because they regard peculiarities of the children merely as “errors” or randum fluctuation. We have to develop specific measuring procedures in order to learn about learning in the child, instead of depending upon some standardized procedures, he asserted. Hatano (Dokkyo University) was also critical of “psychometric” standardized tests. He distinguished two types of instructional differentiation-administrator-centeredv s. learner centered. In the former, only those who have high potentialities are seen as justifying educational “investment” and given a well-developed education, while those not as well endowed are made to do with less. Learner-centered differentiation seeks to realize as much as possible the potentialities of every student. According to Hatano, psychometric (norm-referenced) tests are of service only for the first type of differentiation. Yamashita (Ibaragi University) pointed out that standardized or norm-referenced tests, assuming normal distribution of abilities and giving scores according to the relative position in the group against which tests are standardized, necessarily create “inferiors” as well as “superiors”. Testing in education should aim at describing how an individual child responds at a given time and how he has developed (or failed to develop) through intervention. He asserted that professional authorization of these tests would be harmful because this would rationalize poor educational enviroments for the “inferiors”. Kashiwagi (Japan National Railroads), exclusively dealing with tests in industry, admitted that achievement tests are widely and effectively used in in industry. He proposed, in order to make inevitable selections with consensus between employers and employees, as well as among employees themselves, to introduce recent progress of test theory into actual practice. Though no strong counter-arguments advocating the use of standardized tests in education were raised, we should expect continuing controversy on this topic. Some psychologists on the floor emphasized the necessity of combining these ethical considerations with empirical research, e.g., how information obtained through psychological tests can be utilized for individual learners in the optimization of instruction
There has been controversies about the role of clinical psychology in school education. The discussion of this symposium mainly centred in the problem whether or not the special education for the handicapped children in terms of special schools or classes is educational discrimination. In this presentation the auther rather stated his own view concluded through the discussion than summarized the discussion itself. He critisized the view that clinical psychology and special education are serving the present capitalistic establishment and consequently the special schools and classes should be dissolved.
This symposium was designed to stage debate between leading psychologists promoting educational technology and educational researchers who are critical against technological movement. Kazuo Numano, a leader developing numerous programs and Takashi Sakamoto pursuing integrated multi-media approach and micro teaching were asked to represent technology oriented psychologists. Kunio Komabayashi who is leading a group of teachers in structuring instruction based on Russian instructional theory and Takao Mori, a professor of educational administration who argues that instruction is the most difficult portion of entire educational system for machines to take over, were asked to represent critics. The issues debated were: 1) Criticism: Educational technologists often claim that most of teaching activities can be replaced by technological devices, entirely overlooking that the core of the teaching activity is highly creative and hard to program. Defense: We propose to introduce technological devices to replace unimportant trivials of teachers' activity which are eating up 80% of their time and have them work harder on more human and creative aspects of teaching which many of them are now putting aside. 2) Criticism: The press to define objectives behaviorally tend to eliminate important goals which are hard to define operationally and thus make educational efforts biased for short term training. Defense: Objectives which are hard to give operational definition are usually the ones the concept of which differ from person to person. Unless the teachers agree upon what is meant, consistent long-term effort will be impossible. 3) Criticism: The places in the school where technology pays off best are adminstrative ends. We should divert efforts directed to mechanizing instruction to those areas. Defense: While there is no objection to developing administrational technology, we see no reason why we should divert our own attention from instruction. As it is obvious, the issues are not ones to be settled in two hours' symposium. We may have imposed another dichotomy; localist versus systemist. The principal concern of a localist is the process of classroom teaching. The principal concern of a systemist is a larger educational system although it certainly includes the teaching process as a sub-system. Two localists can agree or contradict among themselves since they are cognitively colinear,but a localist and a systemist tend to be indifferent to each other. Perhaps future development of educational technology will hinge upon whether localists and systemists can establish close communication.