Once upon a time in the land of Bahl a coterie of influential PooBobs decided that all the Bahl Players would be rewarded on a strictly meritocratic basis using elaborately constructed standardized testing to insure that only the best Bahl Players would be on the best teams. Kabillions of dollars flowed into the campaign to tell all the citizens of Bahl that the testing of the Bahl Players would yield excellent results. Soon the citizens of Bahl began to believe the PooBobs, and to question their coaches. Surely, a coach whose players had the highest standardized test scores should see the best results in the win-loss columns.
So, a decree went throughout the land that the Manufacturers of Standardized Bahl Tests would provide the means by which to measure the Bahl Players. Players would be tested on the rules of the Bahl Game, on accurate passing, on accurate shooting, on the capacity to block shots, steals, assists, and on the continuity of dribbling. The citizens of Bahl anxiously awaited the results.
However, when it came the season to actually play the Bahl Games the results didn’t seem to align with the copious promises for success. Some teams, already including some highly skilled Players, weren’t seen as making adequate progress — and their coaches were questioned. Why, people asked, with all the success you had last season, can you not make even more progress this season?
Other teams found that the meritocratic system appeared to diminish the Players rather than enhance their contributions. Only a precious few Players scored high on all the phases of the tests — rules, passing, shooting, blocking, stealing, assisting, and dribbling. More Bahl Teams found themselves putting Players on the Court who while they achieved relatively high overall scores on the Manufactured Standardized Tests didn’t blend well as a Team.
One team, whose Players scored well enough in Blocking to assure the management that progress was just around the corner, was so lacking in offensive capability that their winning percentage declined as other Bahl Teams discovered it was all but unnecessary to guard them. Another squad, highly skilled — as measured by the Manufactured Standardized Testing — was exceptionally proficient in shooting. However, their games degenerated into mediocrity as other teams noticed that by utilizing a slow-down half court defense the scorers (who couldn’t defend worth a stale pickle on a concession stand hot dog) would be unable to play to their strength.
There were even problems within the teams. Should a coach play only those Bahl Players who had the highest overall scores? Should a Player who had a high score on the Manufactured Standardized Test section on shooting, but lower scores on blocking and rules be put on the Court? What of the Player who scored well above the proficiency level on blocking shots, but well below the level of proficiency on dribbling, should he or she be included on the Bahl Team?
Should a Bahl Player with an 89% proficiency level in free throws, but only a 10% proficiency rate in Rules, be given playing time in preference to a Player with a 50% proficiency rate in free throws and a 50% proficiency rate in Rules? And so the controversies continued.
Not only were the controversies created internally, but there were also controversies beyond the practice Courts. Who was the best coach? Was the best coach the one whose Players tended to score well in all the phases of the Manufactured Standardized Test? Or, was the best coach the one whose Players actually won games? Why was it that some of the best coaches, as measured by the performance of the Bahl Players on the Manufactured Standardized Test, weren’t achieving the expected level of success in the Win-Loss columns?
Why did some coaches persist in putting Bahl Players on the Court who scored only marginal results on the Manufactured Standardized Test, but who appeared to contribute an unmeasurable, and hence unscientific, “spark off the bench?” Was a coach to be measured by the Win-Loss Column, the results of the Manufactured Standardized Tests, or the employ-ability of his or her Bahl players?
What were the citizens of Bahl to make of the coach whose Players consistently displayed leadership, ingenuity, creativity, and artistry such that they were always employable but who didn’t always achieve proficiency levels on the Manufactured Standardized Tests? Who weren’t always winners as measured by the Win-Loss column?
The questions remained unanswered as the citizens of Bahl listened to the campaigners for the Manufactured Standardized Tests. The campaigners told them that proficiency could be scientifically measured, and the measurements would correlate to the efficacy of the coaching. Surely global success was around the next corner.
Thus, coaches began to coach-to-the-test. Only Bahl Players who demonstrated overall proficiency were included on the playing rosters. Coaches proudly pointed to the proficiency scores of their Bahl Players, and some Teams advertised their test scores. Managers put greater pressure on coaches whose Bahl Players were considered insufficiently proficient on the Manufactured Standardized Tests. More and more practice time was devoted to preparing for the Manufactured Standardized Tests than was given to preparing for the upcoming Games.
But the fans were not pleased. Teams scientifically assembled based on the proficiency scores on the Manufactured Standardized Tests weren’t “winning.” Their Bahl Players were very good at taking the Manufactured Standardized Tests, but their performance on the Court was assuredly less than entertaining.
It was soon discovered that some Bahl Players, who were very skilled at taking the Manufactured Standardized Tests, weren’t all that good at actually Playing Bahl. Indeed, it was perceived that when adverse situations developed on the Courts requiring creativity, ingenuity, and good old fashioned Intestinal Fortitude, some of the teams flopped faster than an Italian Serie A striker in the penalty area.
However, the Kabillions of Dollars continued to flow into the campaign to make Bahl Playing a scientifically measurable human activity, one in which the individual Bahl Players could be evaluated in percentiles, and in which the coaches could be graded based upon the overall achievement of their Players on the Manufactured Standardized Tests. Owners, managers, and coaches continued to tinker with ways to make their systems conform to the demands of the test taking while still trying to teach the Bahl Game.
But the fans continued to be less than thrilled by the results. “Be patient,” said the Campaigners for Manufactured Standardized Tests,” All will be well when all the Players score above the proficiency level on all the segments of the examinations. And, all will be perfect when all the Players on all the Teams have improving test scores.”
The fans persisted in looking at the score board, which told them what they already knew — their belovéd teams were composed of Bahl Players who were better at taking the tests than performing on the Courts. Coaches who enjoyed the Bahl Game were leaving the field — saying that to teach the measurable portions of the Bahl Game was to place undue emphasis on the content of the contest, and not the contest itself. Fans became anxious. The improving scores on the examinations weren’t equating to the promised improvement in the Bahl Game. “Never fear,” said the campaigners for Manufactured Standardized Tests,” There will be a day when all the Bahl Players will be satisfactorily proficient, and then you will see our success.”
And, the campaigners for Manufactured Standardized Tests continued to spend Kabillions to send that very message to the fans, over and over, again, and again.