SAT, SAT II, ACT, PSAT, AP, STAR, CASHEE, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT…when will this list ever end? Standardized testing has taken an eminent role in deciphering today’s education and unfortunately, there is a test for every occasion whether it is for kindergarten, high school, college, or graduate school admission, or for the state to base a school’s progression. The bottom line is that there is no escaping such demoralizing and discriminatory tests. Standardized tests consist of very basic, simplistic questions similar to those aired on a television game show such as Jeopardy. The answers reveal either an important name or date in history or an insignificant mathematical number; both answers have no value to a student’s education because they do not penetrate the deeper meaning of why. The student will remember the answer only as A, B, C, or D. These tests assess a limited range of English, science, history, and math skills, inaccurately and unfairly measuring a student’s growth because the multiple-choice questions lack the depth and value of an abstract, unique, and diverse education.
What does it mean to be well educated or to be “smart”? Standardized tests are one-dimensional but the beauty of people is that we are all unique and creative in our mind-set. Smith (2002), a Rank Research Fellow and Tutor at YMCA George Williams College Gardner, defines intelligence through Howard Gardner’s seven multiple theories: linguistic, logical, musical, kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. He claims that “people have a unique blend of intelligences” and that our biggest challenge “is how best to take advantage of the uniqueness conferred on us as a species exhibiting several intelligences” (p. 1). It is a rare gift to obtain all seven intelligences, thus we must Standardized Testing3
identify and educate ourselves at our own pace. Who’s right is it to say that an athlete or a musician is not as smart as a chemist or mathematician? The government has imposed numerous tests on students, consequently causing much insecurity and rejection in life. A single-subject multiple-choice exam cannot measure the full range of a person’s intellect because the tests only focus on a single seating of an exam of a limited topic rather than an array of topics over a progression of time.
On January 8, 2002, President Bush signed the new “No Child Left Behind Act” to the United States, in which students will be tested annually in math and reading. These are only two core subjects that a multiple-choice exam cannot measure a full range of a person’s intellect. The U.S. Department of Education wants to implant higher standards for our country because we have not strived for academic excellence as a nation. In carrying out this act, President Bush has four main tasks: “increase accountability for student performance, focus on what works, reduce bureaucracy and increase flexibility, and empower parents” (“No Child Left Behind,” p. 2). This, of course means that the schools that perform at high levels will be compensated whereas the schools that perform poorly will be punished by lack of sufficient funds and teacher quality. And such schools are usually a low-income, racially diverse student body, making the test biased towards the minority students. This plan will supposedly ensure that the federal money will be used effectively towards the improvement of school’s resources, but how can this be if the low-scoring schools are not receiving any money? Lastly, empowering parents means sending home a grade report with an insignificant number to determine a child’s intelligence. Although the “No Child Left Behind Act” has the intentions to improve Standardized Testing4
American education, the impractical use of another standardized test will only make students feel more pressure and insecure to score well, losing their creative side.
The “No Child Left Behind Act” wants to raise...