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When I moved to America, I was happy that my children would not experience the "exam hell" that Asian children endure. Alas, they had to experience standardized testing "nightmares" because of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The intention behind NCLB was to make all children “smart,” but instead, it pressed no child ahead, curious, or creative. It resulted in smart test-taking skills, not worthwhile skills. Colleges and graduate schools increasingly admit smart test-takers, leaving future innovators behind. Meanwhile, testing companies increasingly get richer.
A number of studies across various domains– from juggling to taxi navigation to meditation to music to motor learning to processing speed– demonstrate the importance of experience on patterns of neural connectivity. Finally, the cognitive ability domain is catching up.