Thomas L. Friedman’s articles on getting hired at Google give us a lot to think about as educators. As Friedman references the hiring practices of Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations at Google, we learn the number one thing recruiters look for: cognitive ability. In other words, smarts. They’re looking for smarts. Only “smarts” used to be evidenced by top marks and admission into prestigious colleges. Not any more. Even with a high GPA, think-on-your-feet-ability is the new smarts; it's the new predictor of value-add to the company. If students were truly being trained to compete and collaborate in this environment, our assignments, our assessments, our inputs would look very different.
I think that students could adjust to demonstrating value instead of simple knowledge. Sure, knowledge (and memorization/exercise) is a part of the process, but what matters now is "what can you do with what you know?" Students should practice this process long before joining the professional world, and also before college. If assessment were to change, students could apply what they learned in class to do, make, generate or perform something.
My favorite high school math teacher used to tell us that the exams were like Math Fashion Shows. It was a time to show off, strut-your-math-stuff, and to apply what was known to specific problems in a given time frame. I agree that students should practice more problem-solving and skill application in order to build deeper, sharper cognitive skills.
Friedman, Thomas L. "How to Get a Job at Google." The New York Times. 22 Feb. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.