BOSTON (CAP) - Massachusetts, Virginia and Arkansas have become the latest states to adopt new educational regulations that eliminate the need for standardized testing in favor of a new mobile app that can accurately measure a child's IQ. Results are then immediately attached to the child's permanent record.
"We can test until we're blue in the face, but the fact is that every child has an upper limit," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "This app quickly cuts through the crap, and paints educators a picture they can teach to."
The app, called WhatsMyIQ, is a joint effort between Houghton-Mifflin and Zynga, makers of the popular Words With Friends and Mafia Wars games. It features a Farmville-style interface that lets children tally IQ points based on different activities and exercises.
"What the app lacks in educational accuracy, it makes up for in attentiveness and flair," said Mass. Dept. of Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "These animated emoticons and gold coins that sparkle when you swipe them make kids want to test, and want to be all their IQ will let them be."
A total of 34 states have already adopted the approach, with the financial savings from no standardized tests going right back into the school districts to help defray the cost of the new smart phones and tablets necessary to take the IQ test. School administrators point out that the app itself is free, which is also saving them a bundle.
"The ads in the free version can be distracting and in rare instances skew the results, so parents do have the option to purchase the full version for just $1.99," said Chester. "That way parents who want to play a greater role in their child's success can do so."
Critics of the testing say it's biased toward the wealthy, pointing out that in-app purchases also allow the children to obtain clues to hidden gold coins worth a random number of IQ points. However, proponents say the test is only biased toward those who have the will to succeed and the parents to unlock the bonus level.
"Listen, if you don't have 99 cents to put into your child's education, what sort of magic do you think teachers can accomplish?" said Duncan. "In the real world, you don't get handed opportunities. You buy them."
Zynga also hopes to make inroads with its other new app, iPhysEd, which affords students the benefits of a virtual physical education without having to leave their seats. According to company officials, the app makes changing into and out of stinky gym clothes in front of peers a thing of the past.
- CAP News Staff