5 JANUARY 1974, Page 4

Eysenck and after

d as Sir: Dr Rhodes Boyson is right to praise Professor Eysenck: his readiness to defend intelligence testing is indeed courageous in an age haunted bY educational fanaticism and dogmatistn of a peculiarly pernicious kind. The comprehensive fiasco all around us is a ghastly monument to the misguided and myopic vision of our educational 'thinkers' whether doctrinaire Labour or trendy Tory! The concept of nonselective schooling hangs like a sociopolitical millstone around the national neck. If only we had had the wit to d° some homework before plunging int° this most expensive and futile educe' tional revolution. It might have bee°, salutary to turn back to the work 0' Terman on the education and training of the able instead of worshipping once more at the shrine of that other American, John Dewey, with his nd" tion that schools are effective ins' truments of social change. Perhaps We should also have recalled how the Soviet Union banned psychometric testing in the thirties — an action that it is tempting to think has much more influence on education while its original political motivation has been forgotten! Chief victim of the nev., look in education has undoubtechY been the working class child -something that our reformers scarcelYd intended. Caught up in the confuse , world of the modern primary school with its emphasis all too often 19° do-as-you-please at the expense of the, more traditional three Rs, the deprived child then finds itself dumped into the non-selective neighbourhood school whose size and hurlyburly seem almost designed to keep him in a state of ignorance!

Sooner or later there will have to

, he a return to commonsense in education. H. L. Mencken once referred t° modern pedagogy as "the confection of imbeciles." He may well have been right. Certainly a glance at what IS going on in some modern schoolroorl?s

would to confirm this caustic


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