Formal Essay

Topics: Standardized test, High school, Psychometrics Pages: 7 (1514 words) Published: April 19, 2015
Ashley Turnquest
Dr. Rose McTier
ENGW 119
5th November, 2014
Formal Essay
Should Standardized Test Be Required for College Admission?
Robert Schaeffer once said, “Standardized testing has become the arbiter of social mobility, yet there is more regulation of the food we feed our pets that of the tests we give our kids” (Schaeffer, 2014). Nearly every student takes the SAT or ACT in high school. Standardized tests are defined as “tests that are developed using standard procedures and are administered and scored in a consistent manner for all test takers” (Weaver, 2011). Standardized tests allow students taking the same test to be compared reliably and validly. These test have become one of the primary deciding factors in admission decisions. They also determine whether a high school student can move on to the next grade level or graduate. These test are evaluated by colleges because it gives all intellectual students the opportunity to attend college, regardless of their educational background or financial situation. Although these tests seem to be unbiased, scholars such as James W. Popham and Tonya Moon seem to disagree. They argue that standardized tests are unreliable in measuring a student’s performance. While a standardized test is a good way to quickly measure a student’s performance, it should not be the sole determination of a student’s academic success. A student’s socioeconomic status can have a huge impact on test scores. These test do not truly assess a student’s understanding of the various concepts and they place students and teachers under a lot of pressure to do well. Standardized test scores should not be focused entirely on in admission decisions, because a student’s socioeconomic status has a huge impact on their test scores. Those with a higher socioeconomic status usually achieve better scores. According to James Popham’s article, “Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Quality”, “many items on standardized achievement tests really focus on assessing knowledge and/or skills learned outside of school-knowledge and/or skills more likely to be learned in some socioeconomic settings than in others” (Popham, 1999). Students from privileged families attend better educational institutions. They are provided with more spacious classrooms, clean restroom, and healthier cafeterias. Unlike students in public schools, they are able to concentrate better in their school’s environment. Evidence of this is also shown in Alfie Kohn’s book, “The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools”. In the book he states that standardized test “cast public schools in the worst possible light as a way of paving the way for the privatization of education” (Kohn, 2000). Many people argue that these tests are meant to make public schools look bad. People believe that the lower scores seen from standardized test are produced by public school students, which is proven to be true. Those attending public school have limited resources. Therefore, they are learning different material than private schools. Although these test are meant to equally evaluate a student’s academic success, “research has repeatedly found that the amount of poverty in the communities where schools are located, along with other variables having nothing to do with what happens in classrooms, accounts for the great majority of the difference in test scores from one area to the next” (Kohn, 2000). Students who have a lower socioeconomic status should not be expected to be tested on the same level as those with a higher socioeconomic status. Hence, it is not fair for colleges to equally evaluate students of different class, race, etc. when other factors, such as socioeconomic status, affect their scores. Another reason why standardized test should not be heavily considered, is that tests such as SAT and ACT do not truly assess a student’s understanding of the various concepts. These multiple choice tests usually only...

References: Atkinson, R.C. (2004). Achievement versus aptitude in college admissions. In R. Zwick (Ed.), Rethinking the SAT: The Future of Standardized Testing in University Admissions. Retrieved November 5, 2014, from
Kohn, A. (2000) The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann
Moon, T. R., Brighton, C. M., Jarvis, J. M., & Hall, C. J. (2007). State Standardized Testing Programs: Their Effects on Teachers and Students. Storrs, CT: The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut.
Popham J. W. (1999). Why Standardized Tests Don 't Measure Educational Quality. Educational Leadership, 56. Retrieved November 5, 2014, from
Schaeffer, R. (2014, October 1). Robert Schaeffer quotes. Retrieved Novemeber 30, 2014, from Think Exist:
Weaver, K. (2011). Standardized Testing Measuring the Academic Success of Students. Standardized Testing Measurement of Academic Achievement. Retrieved November 5, 2014, from
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