Sullivan Moore Artist Agency


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Boston Globe

Tony Rodriguez was hired by the Boston Globe to create an illustration about the educational debate in regards to executive function.

My piece for the Boston Globe's May 24, 2015 paper encompasses an intense educational debate in regards to executive function, specifically focused on America's youth from ages three to five years. This article touches on a few failed attempts through testing that we have our children undergo in order to better understand their decision making skills, emotions, problem solving, and reasoning. I chose to use the famous marshmallow test as a source of imagery. Children were told that if they resisted eating a stale marshmallow, they could have not one but two treats in a matter of minutes. The idea here is that this is not an accurate assessment of executive function. This assessment is basically testing one's ability to be distracted for a certain amount of time, rather than providing an opportunity for children to think critically.  My image showcases a variety of children rock climbing to nowhere, falling from nowhere, and stuck on melting marshmallows. I wanted to convey that most of these assessments are not testing what we'd like to be testing and are currently being chalked up as useless. Like the article states, "The fact that we have a lot of different ways of measuring executive function is a reflection of that fact that we don't really understand it" (Douglas Fuchs).  Tony Rodriguez