Tim Grover is so on the money in the below article in more ways than one…
Let’s start with athletics and he is right. Can you imagine if Damian Lillard, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant were judged by their ability to bench press and that was a determinant of how successful they would eventually become? Imagine the league without these players. Remember Steve Nash, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker… The tests don’t necessarily translate just because they get lucky every now and again.
What the above mentioned players have is a unique set of skills and creativity that they’ve honed to be able to adapt in a situation and make the most of it.. skills that these players have honed through not necessarily having the talent to get by without, skills that they are constantly refining to stay on top of their game.
Most of the NBA Pre-Draft tests aren’t relevant really, but we like comparison.. We want to compare what MJ did and how it relates to what Andrew Wiggins can do… We want to standardise tests, so that it becomes repeatable, because otherwise, how could we honestly measure it?
An example would be the lane agility test. Is it really a test on agility if you know when exactly you need to stop and change direction? Of course, it isn’t! Because the game is unpredictable, ever changing and dynamic. A lane agility test doesn’t compare and yet ti remains the gold standard of agility tests.
If the test was modified and adapted so that the athlete doesn’t know when he needs to change direction and where he needs to go; whilst it becomes more relevant, it also becomes more void, because it is not longer standardised and cannot be repeatable. It becomes void because you can’t compare Athlete A and Athlete B anymore, as in one athlete may get an easier circumstance than another, hence, we don’t test agility this way.
But, this is true for Academics too… Students doing exams is the exact same as the NBA Pre-Draft testing or most other standardised tests. You can’t measure success based on what a test informs you, especially, since you’re spending all your time studying for that test, memorising lines and quotes and figures to pass a test. It doesn’t reflect the real world. What happens if you remember the answer or equation five minutes after your test time is over? Does it mean that you’ll be less successful in real life? NO, it doesn’t!!
For years, we’ve celebrated students who receive straight A’s all the way through and got 600 points plus… But, what does that mean exactly? What happened to the kids who got straight A’s 7, 8, 9, 10 years ago? Where are they now?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking on those guys… They did really well to get those As and achieve those points. It wasn’t handed to them and I certainly hope that they’re doing really well. However, I maintain that the method of standardised testing doesn’t translate.
It’s about the same as being drafted into the NBA. The better you perform at the draft combine, the higher the possibility of getting drafted, which means the more money you’ll earn in your first contract. For those of you that are wondering… Steph Curry, yeah the guy that is the first unanimous MVP in NBA history is 61st on the list of top paid players this season. Blake Griffin is 13th on that list… He was drafted 1st in 20009.
Similar with getting great grades, you might get your job offer first, but it doesn’t guarantee success. It might, if you have the right set of skills (ability to adapt and think under pressure among others) then yes, you might be successful.
If you don’t however, it might mean that kid who didn’t get good grades, but learned to think on his feet, who learned when to adapt and how to adapt that may become more successful. Testing and grades don’t mean much unless it’s relevant, and it seldom ever is, other than for the sake of comparison.