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never went to college, although he's teaching at Amherst now. Ralph
Ellison went for a year or two to Tuskegee [Institute] and he was a
Schweitzer professor at N.Y.U.
No, you can't think with absolute predictions that the
individual's life achievements on the basis of tests-- I did a study
for the United States State Department on the relationship between test
performance on the Foreign Service-- the Foreign Service offers its
test-- it's one of the most difficult entrance exams conducted. And
when I compared the test performance of Foreign Service officers with
their performance in the field evaluation, there was little or no
correlation. Interesting enough-- one of the interesting things that
I found was that the young Foreign Service officers who scored highest
the test stayed in the Foreign Service the least for time of term.
I guess they got bored with it.
But that's what I'll say about your question, that tests are
indicators of some aspect of what is required of us as we seek to live
and cope, and they're not always accurate predictors. Certainly not
on the upper end. You rarely get, however, individuals with very high
achievement in life with very low scores. On the other hand, if you
get high scores, it doesn't necessarily mean high achievement. Drive,
persistence, luck, family inheritance, financial. In my case, I even
had pretty high test scores, but I always felt that teachers were much
more valuable in terms of my own motivation and achievement.
Yes. I believe you went into that in your earlier reminiscing,
rich teachers had influenced and inspired you the most.
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