Campbell’s law

The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is supposed to monitor.

This is attributed to Donald T. Campbell, a psychologist who pioneered the study of human creativity.

Click on Campbell’s law wiki for Wikipedia’s explanation of Campbell’s law.

Click on Donald T. Campbell wiki for Campbell’s Wikipedia biography.

A good example of Campbell’s Law in operation would be how Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara used reports of body counts to judge the success of U.S. efforts in Vietnam.  Another would be the current use of high-stakes testing to evaluate school teachers and schools.  Click on Teachers, school systems cheat on tests for a report on “body counts” under the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top programs.

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