The Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing and Child Literacy | Part 2
PRO 2: Standardized testing offers meaningful data to help students in marginalized groups.
Standardized tests can show if a child is on track, or if certain areas need to be addressed differently. Income disparity is a part of society.
Statewide standardized tests are used to identify problems. They help clarify if disabled and ESL students are getting what they need and what else needs to be provided to help them.
Civil rights groups also use standardized testing to advocate for resource equity and fair treatment for students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, and ESL students. If we can’t measure disparities, we can’t address and remedy them.
CON 2: Standardized tests are racist, classist, and sexist.
Standardized tests originated in WWI to test the Army. Later, they became the basis of the SAT test. When the tests were first used, the designers linked intelligence and race. As a result, the Army segregated the soldiers by race.
Test designs often assume a student background equivalent to that of a White, middle-class student. Standardized testing depends on biased questions in order to get a wide range of scores. In reality, wealthier kids do better on standardized tests because they usually have more opportunities to learn at a very early age. In addition, wealthier kids have greater access to tutoring and test preparation. The tests show the kid’s family background, but not their ability to succeed.
All students do not do well on multiple-choice tests. Girls do less well on multiple choice and better on open-ended answers. I was one of those students. Multiple-choice caused extreme anxiety because there might be one minor item overlooked making my choice wrong. In an essay answer, I could account for every variable.