Is It Right to Determine a Student's Future Based on Standardized Test Performance?

Topics: SAT, High school, Intelligence quotient Pages: 6 (1910 words) Published: July 29, 2014
"If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn't be here. I guarantee you that," Michelle Obama said. Intelligence has been defined in many different ways including logic, abstract thought, understanding, planning, and problem solving. Earlier it was believed that there was one underlying general factor at the intelligence base, but later psychologists maintained that it is more complicated and could not be determined by such a simplistic method. If psychologists have proven that your knowledge cannot be based on one factor, then why do schools still use that method to classify a student’s intelligence level? One could argue that IQ tests deprive students of not reaching their full potential in classes, but one could also argue that it seems to be one of the only ways to categorize students into classes. The situation is quite similar to Machiavelli's explanation, in The Prince, of the end justifying the means. He describes that anything, even something unfair or malevolent actions, are acceptable as long as it leads to a successful result. In this case the means doesn’t necessarily have to result to inequity, if schools start realizing a single test doesn’t prove your intellect. IQ tests should not be the main source for schools to categorize students because it doesn't fully prove the intelligence of a certain person, lowers your chances of getting into college, and has advantages towards one racial group over another. In class, teachers aren’t curious if you got the right answer, but rather if you got to your final answer properly. IQ tests are not concentrated with the process of getting answers, but rather with the final product. A recent study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggests that you can be insanely intelligent, and still fall foul when it comes to simple problems because of deviations in judgment. This is known as "cognitive bias” (Clondliffe, 2013). This cognitive bias was proven when a simple question was asked to thousands of students. The problem went as, “A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?” If you're in a rush, which one is in the limited amount of time to take your test, you might answer that the ball costs ten cents, but in fact it costs five. If you gave the wrong answer, your brain created some shortcuts, but abandoned math through the process. In fact, more than 50 percent of students at Harvard, Princeton, and M.I.T. gave the incorrect answer (Clondliffe, 2013). Another study in the book, Writing in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, explains that "more cognitively sophisticated participants showed larger bias blind spots” (Clondliffe, 2013). This means that students are more susceptible to making these basic mistakes, because their minds automatically shorten the process of getting an answer through shortcuts. These studies prove how the most astute students can get lower scores, because of the rush in answering the problems in a standardized test. Another issue IQ tests raise, is that schools may take so much time in teaching their students how to take these tests, that they will lose proper learning time . In the article, Testing More, Teaching Less, researchers looked closely at one school district in the Midwest and one in the East. They found that test prep and testing absorbed 19 full school days in one district and a month and a half in the other (Strauus, 2010). If testing were abandoned, one school district in this study could add from 20 to 40 minutes of instruction to each school day for most grades (Strauus, 2010). The amount of time schools are taking on these IQ tests, that don’t even measure you’re mental capacity properly, is excessive and inundating students. However, IQ tests seem to help classify students that may need extra and special needs. Sometimes if a teacher believes a student may need special needs...
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