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By Amitav Ghosh

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Imagine a child trying to live in two worlds, trying to accommodate the expectations of school and different expectations of home, church, neighborhood, or peers. [Basic Assumption 13] The child may be labeled and placed in a class designed for children with special educational needs simply because his local knowledge does not match the culture and expectations of the school district (or, in most cases, the local school). The child may feel that his out-of-school values are correct, but be frustrated because he cannot accommodate his need for attachment with the values of his teachers or the school agenda.

In order to instruct a child, educators need to know the characteristics of the child’s personality, ways in which he is intelligent, and the rationale of the knowledge that the child possesses—is it local or broader, and how can he ensure it is malleable— what motivators are needed? [Basic Assumption 21] Macro knowledge is beyond local knowledge and may include parts of local knowledge or at least an understanding of the differences between local knowledge and the acquisition of macro knowledge.

While attempts are made to change test questions in tandem with changes in society, in our current progressively evolving, pluralistic society, the questions are becoming more and more static, and thus are becoming increasingly less and less dependent on specific variables in the culture in which we are assessing one’s intelligence. Indeed, an intelligence test can only measure one’s ability to perform on a set of ideas (concepts or questions) that a group or class of people value and relate to a standard that they have promulgated for the benefit of their group.

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