Rethinking Testing 

While there are many things wrong with testing, the world will test you—the more prepared our scholars are, the better. That said, tests as they are presented most schools are incongruous with the key tests of everyday adult life.
Test taking should be contextualized as a skill to be honed and a way to gauge one's own progress, not a way to measure an individual's competence.

Judging Progress in a Practical Context

While the Collins Institute does use traditional written and multiple-choice tests, it also relies heavily on tests designed to assess a student's ability to perform in real-world scenarios. Here are just a few examples of how a scholar might be tested in different domains.


Scores based on building a program that completes a specific task.

Current Events

Scores based on returns made through simulated investing.

Social Skills

Scores based on outcomes of small-scale elections (e.g., sports teams or social clubs).


Scores based on response rates to cold email campaigns.


Scores based on objective health, such as strength and endurance.


Scores based on actual online readership of published work.

How can testing be made fair?

One of the most harmful characteristics of the legacy education system is its veneer of fairness. In addition to downplaying the real disadvantages experienced by some students, assumptions of fairness cause privileged students to expect a fair world upon graduation. This is one of the most harmful lies one can impart to a child. The way the real-world judges people is not fair. Learning to navigate a structurally unfair system is a critical part of any education system that preparers kids for the world as it exists today. 

Fortunately, scholars will not fall behind due to a lack of "fairness" in how they are judged, as unfairness will be random, preventing any specific scholar from falling behind due to unfair testing conditions. 

Prepping for SATs, GMATs, etc.

Due to the critical role standardized testing plays in college and graduate school admissions, scholars at the Institute begin prepping for it on a regular basis as early as middle school—and not with dumbed down facsimiles.

Testing Before You Test

Studies have demonstrated that more information is retained if an individual is tested prior to learning the information. Thus, when we do use "normal" tests, we do so both before and after a subject is studied. 

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