A post on the NYC Parents Blog tells the sad story of a middle-school student who was not allowed to graduate with her class because she had supposedly failed the ELA exam. She was an honor student, and it made no sense, but the NYC Department of Education was adamant. The tests don’t lie, do they?
When her class walked across the stage to pick up their diplomas, she was not among them. She felt awful.
Except the tests were wrong. She had not failed the test. There was a mistake. She did pass the test. So many weeks after the graduation, she was able to report to the school and pick up her diploma, like picking up a letter, not like walking across the stage with her classmates in a meaningful ceremony.
And she was not the only victim of the mistake. Thousands of students like her were denied their diploma because of a testing error.
Why do we let fallible machines govern our lives? Why have we become so hostile to human judgment? Surely her teachers knew that she deserved to graduate. Yet we let the machines, which may be more error-prone than mere humans, destroy the lives of children.