The domain of study I chose to research was how high school students feel about having to take standardized aptitude and achievement tests, specifically the ACT exam. My problem statement is ‘do high school students believe that the ACT is an effective indicator of their capacities to learn?’ I chose focus on the ACT exam because it’s what a majority of students in the Midwest region have to take in order to get into college. The discussion of the validity of standardized tests has caught my attention in recent years being a predominant figure in the news and on social media sites. Consequently, our most recent discussion question for Module 4 had me contemplating the key issues associated with the use of achievement tests and outcome assessments in educational research and what student’s responses are to the subject.
I propose that most high school students do not believe the ACT is an effective indicator of their capacities to learn. However, based on the research I’ve already found online, I don’t believe that there will be an overwhelming majority of people agreeing or disagreeing with the matter. Conversely, until I receive the results from my data collected I won’t know with 100% certainty that any of my assumptions on the matter are correct.
Discussion of Research Problem
Standardized aptitude tests predict how well students are likely to perform in some subsequent educational setting. The most common examples are the SAT-I and the ACT both of which attempt to predict how well high perform in college. Standardized achievement-test scores are what citizens and school board members rely on when they evaluate a school's effectiveness. Nationally, five such tests are in use: California Achievement Tests, Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, Metropolitan Achievement Tests, and Stanford Achievement Tests. Often times if a school's standardized test scores are high, people think the school's staff is effective. If a school's standardized test scores are low, they see the school's staff as ineffective. In some cases, important programs are slowly being taken from schools in order to focus on “teaching to the test.” In either case, sometimes there can be biases and errors in these exam results.
As for students, the results of having a low or high-standardized achievement test can have an emotional effect on the student. One’s self-esteem may be lowered when they do not receive scores they may be aiming for, or when they do not do as well as their classmates. Students are at times put under stress to outperform, simply because teachers are put under pressure to make sure their students do well.
The participants in my research will be young adults from both genders, a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, ranging from ages 16-18 from Lincoln Park High School. I plan on keeping the test results anonymous and distributing the test electronically through a survey...