True, but did Einstein say it?


Poster by Ricardo Levins Morales. Updated March 2015 - click image to purchase a copy of the poster from Mr. Morales.

Poster by Ricardo Levins Morales. Updated March 2015 – click image to purchase a copy of the poster from Mr. Morales.

Nice poster, great thought — you can’t measure everything about a student with a test, nor with a battery of tests.  Texas testing in core areas finished up last week, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate testing runs this week.

Not everything that can be counted, counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
– Albert Einstein

I especially thought of this quote one day last week while reading the questions to a kid with Downs syndrome who, as best I could measure from just watching reactions working problems, has a great flair for mathematics, and again when I discovered a geographic genius in the special education group.  (My classes say universally the tests were easy — and for some reason I find that terrifying.)

Did Einstein say it? I found the poster at Learning is More Than a Score; it can be purchased from the Northland Poster Collective.  Neither suggests where we might verify that Albert actually said it, though Bob Murphy at More Than a Score said he understands it may have been on the wall in Einstein’s office.  The artist is Ricardo Levins Morales (see more at Ricardo Levins Morales Galleries).

Readers, can you help?  Did Einstein say that?  When and where?

Update March 2015:  Quote Investigator urges that we attribute the quote to William Bruce Cameron, in a 1963 book.

8 Responses to True, but did Einstein say it?

  1. I guess its fair to say that Pickering said it and Einstein popularized it.

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  2. […] I especially thought of this quote one day last week while reading the questions to a kid with Down click for more var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : […]

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  3. j a higginbotham says:

    I couldn’t find much else linking to Pickering but here is the quote in a 1963 sociology book as part of text, not as a quote.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=I6JIAAAAMAAJ&q=cameron+%22Not+everything+that+counts+can+be+counted%22&dq=cameron+%22Not+everything+that+counts+can+be+counted%22&lr=&ei=CjoDSuLWGY3wkQSl8JnaBA&pgis=1

    Informal sociology: a casual introduction to sociological thinking
    By William Bruce Cameron
    Published by Random House, 1963
    Original from the University of Michigan
    Digitized Sep 7, 2007
    170 pages

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  4. txjak says:

    The article says Sir George Pickering, so UK?

    Also the article ends with this:

    “Let’s end with Pickering’s thoughts extended:

    Not everything that counts can be counted,
    And not everything that can be counted counts.
    But some things that count can be counted –
    and they should be.”

    Like

  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks, txjak — that suggests an entirely new area of search.

    Which George Pickering was that?

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  6. txjak says:

    Dr. Roger Neighbour attributes it to George Pickering here: http://www.autogenic-therapy.org.uk/0001/downloads10/d308.htm and claims that Einstein used to keep the quotation chalked on his blackboard at Princeton University.

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  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Right now I’m teaching AP U.S. Government and Politics, and Pre-AP world history. Not sure about next year. I have also taught in high school, U.S. history, economics, street law, and psychology. The last few times I taught at local colleges it was business law.

    I try to cover the field on this blog. Thanks for dropping by.

    Like

  8. felicity12 says:

    Just wondering, what classes do you teach? US, World Euro History? AP?

    By the way, I read your blog and don’t usually comment. I really enjoy it!

    I’ve seen posters like that before – with that quote but with a different picture.

    Like

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