Standardized Testing

Dear community, I am anxious to hear thoughts on this.

I am interested in hearing whether you think standardized testing, i.e. ACT, SAT, etc. is a proper way to judge someone’s intelligence? I feel that standardized testing is the scourge of the earth and that people ought to be judged more upon their own intelligence relative to the field they are interested in, not to every field such as the ones included in most standardized testing.

Basically, I am saying that I hate standardized testing as a judge of comprehension and intelligence as standardized testing, in my own experiences has done nothing more than make me nervous and the impersonal template makes me almost nauseous at its lack of aesthetics. I think standardized testing as it stands now should not be the type of testing used to get into college.

So, who supports/opposes standardized testing?
Is there an alternative to standardized testing that would be more successful?
What can be done to improve standardized testing if we can not get rid of it?

What things specifically do you oppose regarding the school system?

Haha. Guess what? I’m a senior in high school. In Alabama. Let me just tell you. There’s only a small group of “intellectuals” that think for themselves and the schools here are more strict because the whole conservative bible toter thing. They don’t trust us and from my analysis of prisons, they probably get more freedom than we do. As for atheists and freethinkers we run about 10 per 100 students. Alabama is not how many people see it. Actually, we have one of the most innovative educational systems in America. If you can count watching students every step of the way and beating us with a verbal bat when we slip up as innovative.

It’s actually quite lonely to realize how close to prison our school is without others realizing the same and acting on it. The educational system of America is broken. I believe privatizing education is our best bet.

But yeah, as a natural born Alabamian. Well, the volume of intellectually oriented people is quite low. Our people tend to be tradesmen.

then you don’t know your history of your state. Alabamians have contributed greatly to our country.

I do not believe that it is a proper way to judge someone’s intelligence, except to just enough of an extent that if an individual cannot score well enough on it to at least be admitted to a community college, then that person is probably unintelligent. If the individual performs well enough in community college, then they would be able to take those credits and transfer them to a University or other four-year college.

I think that the reading comprehension portion of the test is a necessity. If one cannot comprehend what one reads, then how can one expect to learn anything at an advanced level, short of direct and practical application? Many individuals who lack reading comprehension are better tactile learners than most, however, most course offerings at a College/University don’t really cater to the tactile learner, Culinary Arts would be an example of an exception, though.

Standardized tests do make many people nervous, I’m not sure whether or not there is a way for an individual to pay to take the standardized test in the individual’s own home with someone watching to make sure the individual does not cheat. If there is not, then I would suggest that there should be so that the individual can at least be somewhat comfortable. They hammer in the consequences of cheating on the test so much (and sit people so close together) that you are afraid to do something as innocuous as scratch your own nose.

It is a very uncomfortable environment, that much I can agree with. It would have at least been acceptable if they had let me pick my own seat, but both times I took the ACT I was seated next to a window on sunny days, so I found that quite irritating. They went in alphabetical order, so nobody stuck me over there to be an ass or anything. I still did pretty well on both of my attempts, but I could have probably done better had I been more comfortable…and less hungover.

I’m neutral on the subject.

To a certain extent, I view this as almost the same question. I personally believe that the reading comprehension portion of the test is necessary in order for an individual to demonstrate fundamental retentive ability. I do not believe the Math portion of the test is necessary, as much as I love Math, I will admit that there are many trades/jobs where the use of Math is a rarity, at best.

In addition to the reading comprehension standardized test, I would suggest that separate SAT’s and ACT’s be made to be relevant to specific majors. An individual can declare a major prior to taking the test (that does not necessarily mean they are bound to that major forever) and there would be a standardized test pertinent to that major. It would essentially be an indicator of how much fundamental knowledge an individual has on that subject. The final semester of an individual’ Senior year could be focused on the major that the individual decides in order to prepare the individual for the standardized test. If there is one criticism of public education that I wholeheartedly agree with, it is that the public school systems are not willing enough to teach enough information about one subject.

I suppose Accounting was an exception in my case, all of my High School accounting classes were pretty thorough, but nothing else.

For example, if someone wanted to take the standardized test for Psychology majors, the H.S. schedule for senior year, second semester, might look something like this:

8:30-10:00- Fundamentals of Psychology (3 Credits)
10:00-11:30-Sociology (3 Credits)
12:30-2:00-Human Relations/Human Sexuality
2:00-3:30-Elementary Philosophy

If someone wanted to major in Business/Accounting, it would look something like this:

8:30-10:00-Accounting III (No such course existed at my school)
10:00-11:30-Human Resource Management/Business Management
12:30-2:00-Math of Economics
2:00-3:30-Business Law

***I just think that the focus needs to be more on what these students want to do with their lives. Too many people come out of high school not knowing what the Hell they want to do. That’s not because they have not learned anything, but because they have not learned anything specific.

****One last thing, don’t place all of the blame on the tests themselves. The Colleges/Universities do not have to view Standardized Test results as an entrance criteria, if they do not want to.

EDIT: One last thing, let the individuals have Internet access when they take the test. I believe that institutions of academia are amongst the only vacuums where the Internet is not considered a viable source of research. In fact, given the technological boom, the ability to use the Internet should be a REQUIREMENT to come to some of the answers on the test.

This is a straw man. cg never said anything about Alabaman history.
Nothing about history there. Also, there’s no indication that you know much about Alabama history either since you provided no examples.

Read his last line just above my post

Nothing about history there. There was a comment on most Alabamans tending to be tradesmen, but that was not an all-encompassing historical statement.

Also, there’s no indication that you know much about Alabama history either since you provided no examples. I presume that you were trying to say that, historically, Alabamans have not tended to be tradesmen, which may be true or false or something in between. In actuality, the state went through a long agrarian period with that little bugbear slavery and all; then a feudal sharecropping period with that other little bugbear racism and the klan in the fore; then went kicking and screaming into the industrial and Civil Rights period turning its racism and xenophobia in on itself and becoming, as cg pointed out, very fundamentally religious in the process. Some rural life still exists, but I expect that cg is right about the way wealth and jobs are distributed these days, and the public education systems in the deep south are notoriously poor. Not only that, but the new models of privatization and charter schools are only going to make it worse since those schools can take in a lot of students to get fed money and then put the ones they don’t want back into the public schools at will or whim.

Nothing wrong with tests… they prepare you for ‘life’ don’t they, as all your skills come into play.

I don’t think standardized tests prove much of anything except the relative ability to take that kind of test. It’s the horrific, artificial descendant of the teach to and by numbers, assembly-line, military-based type of education, which has little to do with the way children learn naturally.

Standardized testing gives me that aura of uncomfortable cold concrete, straight back chairs, and filling out Form 1-G after I read paragraph 13 of section C-5. It’s kind of nauseating to say the least.

This kind of reaction gives me hope for your future. You really get it.

Maybe they are in a roundabout way testing my logic?


I think that tests are necessary, but perhaps the format should change… for the better.

Since kids are only being taught answers to tests and not educated there is a real problem. The answers are given to them to memorize, they are not taught how to find answers.

…change for the worse does happen, especially here in the UK come budget day.

Much of what I learned at school I still remember, but only a small percentage of that has been useful in my life and working career, but I am well-rounded when it comes to conversation :wink: seriously though, as long as tests contain material that will be useful in these modern times then I think they would benefit students better than they have in the past.

So true. And they are not learning how to think critically.

Or abstractly. Critical thinking is a must but, one must be able to jump out of that box.

I have no idea what you mean here.