Tests, scripted, and taken

So I was watching some short videos on cognitive biases the other day when my mind wandered on to the topic of tests and testing. The things that we do to investigate the quality of software, and the thing most people do in large rooms under time pressure, and I wondered if the most commonly understood meaning of the word testing, as in formal highly structured, controlled and scripted process of answering questions on a specific topic under time pressure to receive a grade has poisoned, to use a dog training term, the ability to get people to understand testing as a process of exploring, learning, evaluating, modeling etc software to help make a value judgement on its quality.
So what do I mean by poisoned, in dog training terms if you have a cue you have taught your dog that elicits a specific behaviour, such as down, to lay on the floor, and then other people repeatedly, and constantly overuse the term, ie more than once per requested behaviour, and also use it to mean get off that thing/me/other person. The dog will stop having a cue down for laying on the floor, and the down cue will like not result in any particular behaviour.
So how am I applying this to the endless education issue around testing in software testing, we are bombarded with the word test and the school exam meaning for many of our formative years, and again if you enter an industry that has a high degree of continuous study and testing to maintain a level of knowledge and does this via formal testing. Rarely do any of these tests reflect our use of the word testing, they seem anathema to it, in fact, all formal, with a gravitas and pomp to give the appearance of great importance. 
Is this in fact the fight that we are having to get people to accept that testing software  can legitimately be exploratory and investigatory, rather than a highly formalised and scripted process, has the interpretation of test become an Alief in the minds of the general population?
What are your thoughts, why is it so difficult to shift the understanding of the word Test?
Doug

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *