Douglas Crets

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Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

Your High School Diploma Doesn’t Mean Jack

We are rapidly approaching a day when a high school diploma won’t mean as much for people seeking part-time or blue-collar work beyond proof that you have spent some time in the institutionalized learning world and can follow directions.

High school is valuable for skillsets like math, science, writing and reading. It takes you through the boot camp of learning and education so that you can one day be managed, but how much of that learning actually prepares you for laddering up in the corporate world?

This has been what college has become for many first year students.

A venture firm has just given a boost of capital for an online skills validating testing company that could change the game when it comes to evaluating your potential as an employee.

The company is Smarterer, and TechCrunch has an article about just how important its presence is in the “show your worth” social graph of the Internet. Smarterer evaluates your ability to perform  certain functions important to running an office, and then allows you to display this proficiency in the form of badges arrayed in portfolio.

The experience is slightly nerve-wracking. After starting a test you’ll be given a practice question that doesn’t count, so that you can familiarize yourself with the system, but then it’s on to the real quiz. A question appears at the top of the screen with a handful of multiple choice answers below it, and a bar representing the amount of time you have left trickling rapidly downward (remember, you’re only supposed to be spending a few seconds on each question). Pick your answer, and you’ll immediately be told whether or not you were correct. Click a button and you’re onto the next question.

After ten or so questions, you’ll get a score, which goes into your user profile. You can also generate embeddable badges that you can put on your personal website. The beta system is actually taking advantage of the badges — in order to gain access for now, you need to find someone with a badge, and click on it to request that they send you a beta invite.

The system seems pretty simple, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Smarterer users your performance on the first few questions to get a sense of how much you know, then uses that information to determine which questions to ask next (i.e. if you miss the first two questions, you’ll be presented with easy questions for the remainder of the session, and you’ll probably get a fairly low rank).

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Filed under: Digital Learning, Influence, Tech, , , ,

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