Hey Teachers, the Marshmallow Test was wrong. | Richard Wells | 3 Min Read

July 18, 2023

I covered the disastrous impact that eugenic thinking had on high school design in my previous post. So, I was interested to see its continuing impact in the highest echelons of academia in regards to the quite famous “Marshmallow Test” and how a team more recently had proved the eugenic-style conclusions to be quite wrong.

The original Marshmallow Test and its wrong conclusions

In the early 1970s, Stanford University isolated individual children (ages 3 to 5) in a room with a single marshmallow and left the room on the promise they would return with a 2nd marshmallow, which they would hand over if the child had not eaten the first. They then timed how long the child could delay the gratification of getting the second by not eating the first marshmallow.

A subsequent longitudinal study on those same children over 40 years proclaimed that ‘innate’ ability (think eugenics) to delay gratification led to more successful outcomes in life. For example, a 1990 study said that “the ability to…

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Richard Wells

Richard Wells is a world-recognized educator, author and blogger on future education trends. He has presented around the world and has been rated in the top 50 world influencers for educational technology use. He currently works in school leadership and is passionate about moving schools forward to better represent the needs of the 21st century. Richard is an EdTech influencer who founded EduWells, a top 10 education blog. He is the author of A Learner's Paradise, a book in which he explains how education can operate without classrooms, lessons, subjects, and tests. Richard proudly started his career with a degree in Fine Art from Manchester in England. He worked in IT before contracting to work in schools, digitalizing their workflows in the late 1990s. He became an educator in 2003.