Education: IBM Conant

In his historic study of the U.S. high school, James B. Conant spent one year inspecting 55 schools in 18 states to see if they were teaching what he believed they should be teaching. How well they taught is another matter. Last week a canny faultfinder was being tuned up by Nashville's George Peabody College for Teachers. The device: an IBM computer. Peabody believes the computer can spot the weaknesses of any school system, perhaps faster than Conant.

At best, schools now evaluate themselves on the basis of national norms: the entire student body's average on standardized achievement tests is compared with...

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