Standardized Testing – Not A Fair Representation Of Kids’ Intelligence

This essay will ask the question “Is one test really able to determine college readiness?” In America, standardized tests like the ACT and SAT first appeared in 1901. It was originally created to provide a standard exam that could be used by all universities. Secondary schools could receive feedback from the College Board about how their students did. As an American value, egalitarianism is emphasized in the United States. It emphasizes the right to offer all who have the ability and determination to go to college. The United States puts too much importance on standardized testing, which leads to an inaccurate assessment of student abilities. Teachers are forced to make standardized tests a key component of college applications. This ignores the fact that students learn in different ways and encourages socioeconomic disparities among families.

Each school system strives to score the highest standardized tests scores. Because of this, the class curriculums have been shifted away from lessons and into preparation for the ACT/SAT. Students want to learn how to study for a test to get a high score. Sumita Battacharyya, an assistant professor in Teacher Education at Nicholls State University explains that President Bush signed No Child Left Behind Act into law in 2002. This law tied federal funding to student progress and tied federal funding to schools. This is a way for teachers to be held accountable and to assess their students’ learning using standardized testing. While this is supposed to ensure every child receives the necessary support to succeed in school, it can also cause stress and make schools work harder to improve each year. Teachers are often forced to prioritise lessons that relate to their subject matter over test material. Math and reading are considered more important than other subjects, so science and history are often overlooked. High test scores are demanded from middle school. Richard Atkinson, former president of University of California, noted that twelve-year-olds were being taught verb analogies as part of their preparation for the ACT. The administration isn’t responsible for the excessive focus on test scores. They are trying to make sure that low scores don’t get punished. Teachers must force students to memorize concepts instead of preparing for their future.

Teachers and students can be limited by standardised testing. It is unfair to use a test that measures intelligence only when each student has their own learning style. Bhattacharyya stated bluntly that “…not everyone students do well on tests.” (Bhattacharyya). Some children do better in group projects, class discussions, or other subjects that aren’t as closely examined. Each child has unique talents and it is difficult to predict which one will be successful. Because there are many tests, projects, participation grades, and other assessments, student transcripts can be a better representation of the skills students have.

Tenisha LeShawn Tevis and Regina Deil Amen, both professors, have shared their thoughts on the topic with students. Students may fail to perform due to family problems, unexpected illness, or disruptions in school. It is possible for students to feel low self-esteem if they do poorly on tests. This could hinder their future learning abilities.

Socioeconomic status plays a significant role in determining test scores. Parents do all they can to make sure their children pass standardized testing. A family’s wealth will determine how likely it is to succeed. Dr. Bhattacharyya explained that students from educated families are more likely to succeed. They have books and other educational paraphernalia provided by their parents. Dr. Atkinson points out the seriousness and inequalities of this situation by noting that more parents are seeking psychologists to diagnose their child with any condition to allow them to take advantage of standardized testing. These extra resources are expensive for families with low incomes, who tend to be Hispanics and African Americans.

However, Dr.

Atkinson also says that claims of unfairness towards minorities are dismissed. Some claim that Hispanics/African Americans are more likely to attend poorer schools and have ill-trained teachers. They also receive a lower curriculum. Although it may be true, wealthier families still have more resources to support their children’s success. Julia Bryan, a counselor education professor, suggests another alternative view: Schools offer free ACT preparation to all students and provide practice ACTs and SATs for those who are not in high school. While this is great, wealthy families are able to afford additional tutoring for their children and to allow them to take the test multiple times if necessary to score high. This unfair disadvantage places students from lower classes at greater risk of future failure and self-esteem. Statistics show that African Americans and Hispanics will drop out of highschool more often than other races.

Standardized tests can be passed if the student has the financial resources to pay for additional resources and is proficient in test-taking. These tests do not reflect the intelligence of every child. These transcripts are required for students and provide a detailed overview of the student’s abilities. They also allow them to highlight their strengths. Students should not stress the importance of test scores. They should instead be used to supplement their application. One number cannot adequately define intelligence. Because it is so complex, that number should not be used to determine someone’s destiny.


  • reubenyoung

    Reuben Young is a 39-year-old educational blogger and school teacher. He has been teaching in the United States for over 10 years, and has written extensively on educational topics. He is also a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and has been honored with several awards.



Reuben Young is a 39-year-old educational blogger and school teacher. He has been teaching in the United States for over 10 years, and has written extensively on educational topics. He is also a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and has been honored with several awards.

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