Monday, March 13, 2006

Aptitude and ability

Just a small point, but I was listening to a politician this morning talking about the forthcoing education bill and they said that selecting on the basis of aptitude is not the same as selecting on ability.
I'm not saying that can't be true, but can someone provide me with a concrete example of how you would identify someone has an aptitude that doesn't also demonstrate an ability? I know that aptitude is the "potential" to acquire a skill, but what exactly would they be looking for?

Whilst on a 2 x 2 grid you could say that someone has no ability and no aptitude, and likewise they could have ability and an aptitude, what would you look for to show the other (two, equal) bits of the grid?

Additionally, it does seem rather weird that schools currently can select on that aptitude for what are deemed practical subjects - PE, music, technology etc - but not for what might be termed traditional academic subjects. I'm really not in favour of selection for either, but that does seem a strange distinction to make if we have supposedly moved beyond anything remotely like a two cultures attitude...

1 comment:

Rob Buckley said...

Aptitude; no ability: Never been taught, but as soon as you show them how to do something, they pick it up quite quickly

No aptitude; ability: Had lots of teaching, but requires a hell of a lot of effort to advance them somewhat.

To select for aptitude, I'm guessing you'd phrase questions in such a way that all the info necessary to understand is in it and those with aptitude will solve it quickly. To select for ability, don't include the info.

Alternatively, it might be based on how well someone is expected to do on average in a subject for their age: if they can pick up stuff intended for older children, they have aptitude.