Educational Testing & Social Justice

Educational Testing & Social Justice

On this episode of Core Brain Journal, Dr. Charles Parker interviews Dr. Zak Stein and discusses educational testing, social justice and how the two are connected and how neuroscientifically validated details also matter for educational testing

 Educational Testing, Social Justice, Money & Labels

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
~ Albert Einstein

Dr. Zak Stein – Dr. Stein’s educational testing interests focus on the interface between social justice and education, including specializations in developmental psychology and ethics. He studied philosophy and religion at Hampshire College, and then educational neuroscience, human development, and his doctorate in philosophy of education at Harvard University.

While a student at Harvard, he co-founded what would become Lectica, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to the research-based, justice-oriented reform of large-scale standardized testing in K-12, higher education, and business. He writes on a broad range of topics including the philosophy of learning, educational technology, and the fundamental theory of education translated to applications for everyday life.

Neuroscientifically validated details also matter for educational testing. Current testing requirements, including IQ, don’t adequately cover mind complexity. Listen and comment. Consider: should the term for current standards of educational testing results and their subsequent applications with students more accurately be characterized by the term social injustice?

Educational Testing Evolves

Testing doesn’t adequately cover mind complexity. Imprecise results create myriads of challenges for everyone concerned – from students to teachers to school administration and parents.

Currently, Dr. Stein serves as Chair of the Education Program at Meridian University, and as Academic Director of the activist think-tank at the Center for Integral Wisdom.

Ed Note: Daniel Schmachtenberger [], our respected mutual colleague at Neurohacker, is friends with and referred Zak.

Bottom line: our system of education-labels in the context of new measurements, new data and evolved mind considerations is woefully inadequate and potentially damaging to the lives of those mislabeled. This discussion is critical, indeed absolutely essential, dare I say mandatory, for anyone involved with any educational process. Feel free to weigh in below with a comment.

Connect With Dr. Stein To Encourage Systemic Evolution

“I am available for speaking engagements on a variety of topics, including Mind, Brain, and Education, Developmental Psychology, Human Development, Philosophy of Education, Social Justice, Educational Psychopharmacology, Educational Testing, and Integral Meta-Theory. I’ve been an invited speaker and workshop leader at venues such as Harvard University, The National Security Agency, Integral Institute, Buckingham Browne & Nichols, Amherst College, and a variety of academic conferences.

At times I also offer consulting services to schools and other educational institutions around assessment, philosophical alignment of mission, vision, and practice, and developmental psychology. It has been an honor to have served in various consultancy roles with organizations such as the Department of Mind, Brain, and Education at the Harvard University Graduate of Education, Brandies University, Phillips Exeter Academy, the Long Trail School (VT), and Glastonbury Public Schools (CT).

I occasionally provide academic coaching to graduate students and professional writers, helping them frame problems, build a course of study, conceive a research project, or simply manage their energy and stress during the completion of complex academic tasks.

I’m not a life coach or ghost writer; but if you come to me with a passion, I will help.”


Dr. Zak Stein: Rethinking Educational Testing CBJ/093

  • I’m what you call a high achieving dyslexic – never did well in school [2:33]
  • Testing is at the heart of what makes schools a potentially unjust institution [3:22]
  • I saw the neurosciences in disarray and the deeper issues as philosophical [5:58]
  • Inertia: on the political economy of the testing industry [6:12]
  • The scale of the measurement instrument, fairness, is tied to justice [8:35]
  • So many reasons that the testing infrastructure can be unjust [12:48]
  • The testing structure is misleading us [26:08]
  • It’s important to separate schooling from learning [33:08]
  • Systems of measurement, humanity, and including the DSM-5 [37:48]
  • The history of what is allowed, measurement and politics [41:50]
  • Neuroscience is driven by psychological measurement more than neuroscientists want to admit [48:27]
  • Imagine if you threw in the dynamic value of time [48:59]


Dr. Stein’s  – Complimentary Overview in PDF 

– Very Strongly Recommended –

Reimagining Humanity’s Identity:
Responding To The Second Shock Of Existence

Download Here ↓

Dr. Stein’s Websites & References Regarding Educational Testing:

  • His Book: Social Justice and Educational Measurement: John Rawls, the history of testing, and the future of education. 2016 Global Amazon Link
  • Website for evolved testing: Lectica, Inc. See video below.
  • Despain, H. & Stein, Z. (2014). Financialization and crises tendencies in higher education: what is college for anyway? Post-Keynesian Economics Forum. August, 12. Available at:
  • Connell, M., Stein, Z., & Gardner, H. (2012). Bridging between brain science and educational practice with design patterns. In Della Sala & Anderson (Eds.) Neuroscience in education. (pp. 267-286). Oxford University Press.
  • Stein, Z. & Gafni, M. (2015). Reimagining humanity’s identity: responding to the second Shock of existence. World Future Review. 7(1) 1-10. [Download PDF above.]

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