On a recent edition of Scientific American’s excellent 60-Second Science podcast, they reported on a talk by theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss in which he discussed the need to help students learn “how to fail effectively”.

In the real world, most problems are not solvable exactly, and there are many competing demands. And you have to often change course in the middle in order to meet sociological issues as opposed to technological ones. And it’s very difficult for us to implement that in our teaching. But I think we do a much better job and a much better service to our students if we try and teach our students to fail more effectively.

Something to think about as we enter the high-stakes standardized testing season.

A special world where every question has one (and only one) right answer and failure is banned by federal law.