I’ve always done exceptionally well on standardized tests. Whether it was the WKCE, the PSAT, or the SAT, I excelled at multiple choice, fill-in-the-bubble tests. When it came time for me to take the ACT, I knew going into it that I had that test in the bag. I came out with much better than average scores, scoring a 28 on the overall test, much better than most of my peers. Though math was never my strongest subject in high school, I had still managed to pull a score of 25 on the math section of the test. When I got to college, I was put in the normal, freshman level math class. My roommate, who had scored only a 20 on the math section of her ACT, was in Statistics, which is a slightly harder class. I thought I had my class in the bag. After all, I’d scored better than average on the ACT, so I figured I had nothing to worry about. I ended up finishing the semester with a failing grade in that class, by far the worst grade I had ever gotten in any class. My roommate, who only scored a 20, ended up with an A in a harder class than mine. How can this be if the ACT is an accurate measure of a person’s intelligence and likelihood to succeed in college?
Standardized testing has long been used in our country to evaluate the intelligence of students at many points along their academic journey. Starting as early as kindergarten, students all over the nation sit in quiet rooms with only a pencil and a bubble sheet, answering questions that are in no way tailored to them as an individual. Though tests are designed this way in order to make them a fair assessment, the makers of these tests have forgotten that fair is not always equal. Standardized tests should not be used as a measure of one’s academic success in schools because of their inaccuracies as well as the many other drawbacks they present.
A Standardized Test is defined as any form of test that requires all test takers to answer the same questions, or a selection of questions from common bank of questions, in the same way, and that is scored in a “standard” or consistent manner, which makes it possible to compare the relative performance of individual students (). This means that there is no tailoring to the diversity of people who take the tests. They may have different proficiencies of the English language, different home lives, different experiences, and different learning styles, but the tests treat them as if they are all identical. If somebody comes in to take this test and, for example, retains information better when they hear it, they will have a much harder time taking the test than somebody who does better retaining information visually. Saul Geiser, a research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley was quoted in an article by Anisha Chadha, saying:
Compared to high-school GPA, for example, SAT scores are much more closely correlated with students’ socioeconomic characteristics. As a result, the SAT has lowered the chances of...