What Jeremy Lin Teaches Us About Talent is an interesting new column by Jonah Lehrer.

He shares observations and research about the inadequacies of metrics used to evaluate sports talent, and many of the same critiques, I think, can be applied to using Value-Added Measures to evaluate teachers and standardized test scores (and, might I add, some of truly awful benchmark assessments some of us have to give to our students) to evaluate students.

I really like Lehrer’s second-to-the-last line:

“There is talent everywhere.”

I’m not as thrilled with his last line, though:

“We just don’t know how to find it.”

That might, or might, not be true in professional sports, but I think there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that there are many other ways to effectively evaluate teacher and student talent, including through peer observations and formative assessments.

Of course, Jeremy Lin’s high school teacher, my colleague David B. Cohen, was pretty confident that Lin was going to be a successful NBA player.

Maybe professional sports teams should just ask us teachers to be their scouts 🙂