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Standardized Testing Essay

1408 words - 6 pages

Standardized test scores have an enormous amount of weight in the college admission process. But these tests raise a lot of questions: Will they really test the intelligence of a student? Do time limits on these standardized tests give accurate measurement of a student’s ability to perform well? The importance of high-stake tests are unquestionable as they have the ability to sway college applications and acceptances. Although many argue otherwise, research shows that standardized test scores are actually a poor indicator of a student’s potential due to racial bias.
To understand the validity of standardized tests, one must understand standardized testing and the types of these tests. A ...view middle of the document...

These tests are supposed to provide accurate measures of the intellectual and academic potential of a student and provide a valuable measure of student achievement.
Standardized test scores are not completely accurate since a standardized test gap is apparent between racial minorities. A research study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education states, “Black and Latino students in New York score below Whites and Asians on standardized tests so consistently that although they are almost 70% of the overall student body, they are only 11% of students enrolled at elite public schools,” (Rooks). As one can see, race has become an important part of the college application process. In the SAT scores released in 2012, it was found that standardized tests are more beneficial for Whites. Whites earned an average score of 1068 while Blacks earned 864. In the same data, the Hispanics earned a score of 925. This trend has existed since the 1988 yet nothing has been done to solve this consistent problem. This is also evident in other tests such as the ACT. Black and Latino students are expected to get lower scores and, as a result, will fall behind (Rooks). Although a myriad of studies such as ones above occurred to try to close the standardized testing scores gap, nothing has worked. Black and Latinos consistently get lower standardized test scores.
The validity of standardized tests is also questionable since there is evidence of a test score gap across different income levels. In fact, the largest gap in standardized testing is between the wealthy and the poor. According to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, “The gap for achievement test scores between rich and poor have grown by almost 60% since the 1960s and is now almost twice as large as the gap between white students and children of other races,” (Reardon). Students in poverty have a fewer amount of resources and also have poorer health care and nutrition. Because these students are living in poverty, the standardized test penalizes them with bad scores (Reardon).
In addition to an income gap and a racial gap, standardized tests are biased against genders as well and thus, these tests are not credible. According to the Educational Testing Service, females taking the standardized tests consistently receive lower marks than males. In the 2012 SAT college test results, the average score on SAT for males was 532 while the average score for females was much lower with a score of 499. This gender gap was especially evident in the math portion of the SAT. The females earned 35 points lower than males in this section. Although females earn better grades in school, these grades do not reflect on the high-stakes tests. These results match in the ACT as well. The gender gap in the ACT is a whopping 0.3. This might not seem like a lot, but when converting this to an SAT score it is 12 points lower. Though there seem to be many explanations such as biased test questions, the guessing penalties,...

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