Is Standardized Testing a Useful Measure of Intelligence?

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Recently people have started to question whether Standardized Testing is a useful measure of intelligence and if they should be eliminated. Supporters say that it helps level the playing field by providing an objective score for all students. But, I believe that standardized tests should be eliminated and not be used in any admissions process. Standardized testing hurts low income/foreign students, it creates health/learning detriments and does not accurately measure intelligence.

Standardized tests do not show what a student learns; it only proves how well a student can do on a generic test. Therefore, it cannot accurately measure intelligence. In addition, standardized testing sidelines core additional classes, like art, and causes learning/health determinants. Finally, it hurts low-income families who can not afford to tutor. Therefore, we should eliminate Standardized Testing because the negative consequences, such as hurting underprivileged students, outweigh the potential benefits.

Standardized testing hurts both low income and international students. Language barriers of immigrants and other non-native speakers of English prevents progression into college and prevents progress. Wignall 19 writes, “Unfortunately, at this time neither the ACT nor the SAT are offered in foreign languages.

Additionally, neither test will allow ESL students special accommodations” There are no set accommodations for anyone learning English on these standardized tests. Because of the lack of accommodations, an ELL student might spend more than 34 hours on standardized exams and practice tests in a given year compared with approximately 22 hours for English speaking students to achieve the same score.

The National Center for Education Statistics stated that “there were 4.9 million ELL students as of 2016”, which means that the aforementioned setbacks roughly impact 1/10 of all students in the high school and college admission process. Aside from foreign students, income is an inevitable factor in standardized tests, and it is impossible to entirely remove its problem from this system, revealing an inherent flaw.

First, to prove this relation, Education Next shows in many graphs, that states with higher percentages of students from low-income families report lower average scale scores. This happens because low-income students have suffered from more stress in early childhood, have more limited access to enriching educational resources, and receive less exposure to spoken language and vocabulary early in life.

Not only do standardized tests hurt low-income students, they also do not accurately perform their purpose. A Brookings Institution study found that 50-80% of year-over-year exam score improvements were temporary. They state, “standardized test improvements were caused by fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning.” The score produced by standardized tests are unreliable because they are continually fluctuating; therefore, cannot be relied on by college institutions.

JSTOR writes, “simply changing the relative weight of algebra and geometry in NAEP altered the gap between black and white students.” Small differences in weight that happen reasonably regularly often mean the difference between a score that a college will accept and not for people in a group. Not only is this indirectly discriminatory, it means that these constant fluctuations in weighting cannot be accounted for by colleges, and thus neither can the score.

Along with the result being unreliable, the creation of the test is subjective. The only objective part of most standardized tests is scoring when done by an accurately programmed machine. Deciding what items to include on the test, how questions are worded, which answers are scored as “correct,” how the test is administered, and the uses of exam results are all made by subjective human beings.”.

The only objective scoring on these exams is the grading. The aforementioned evidence shows that standardized testing is unreliable because performance continually fluctuates, and the making of the test is highly subjective. Therefore standardized tests should not be used in college or highschool admission.

Along with the test being unreliable and subjective, Standardized Testing causes mental health problems and hurt learning. Because standardized testing creates mental health problems, like testing anxiety, for students, it leads to an overall lowering of the score on the test.

This is unequal as people who are more prone to stress will be at a more significant disadvantage. A Harvard metastudy stated, “Health consequences associated with standardized testing were cited as including stomachaches and vomiting, headaches, sleep problems, depression, attendance problems, and acting out.” The stress created by standardized testing is sickening the nation.

Taking standardized tests results in enormous pressure and stress on students, which leads to test-taking anxiety and depression. Schools also want their students to do well. Thus, test prep diverts almost three weeks away from real classroom instruction. The degree to measure learning is directly preventing learning. It also encourages students not to miss testing days when they are ill and not at their full ability for successful performance. In short, all of these detriments among stress add to the extreme fluctuation of scoring to prove these tests are unreliable and should be eliminated.

Standardized testing should be removed from all levels of schooling. First, standardized testing unequally affects low-income who are not able to afford a tutor. Therefore, they have to spend more time studying, which takes valuable time away from school and family. Another reason they should be eliminated is the fact that their results are unreliable, and the making of the test is subjective.

Finally, they create mental health determinants and sideline important classes like music and art. If we measure success based on standardized testing, we would not have people like Michelle Obama. She said, “If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I would not be here, I guarantee you that.”


Cite this paper

Is Standardized Testing a Useful Measure of Intelligence?. (2020, Sep 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/is-standardized-testing-a-useful-measure-of-intelligence/



Are standardized tests an accurate way of measuring a student's abilities?
Despite what reports in your local newspaper suggest, scores of standardized tests are not the same as student achievement . What's more, the scores don't provide very much useful information for evaluating a student's achievement, a teacher's competency, or the success of a particular school or program.
Do standardized tests reflect intelligence?
No, standardized tests do not reflect intelligence. Standardized tests measure a limited range of skills and knowledge.
Do tests measure intelligence?
There is no one answer to this question as there is no one definition of intelligence. However, generally speaking, tests can measure some aspects of intelligence but not others. For example, IQ tests may measure cognitive abilities but not emotional intelligence.
What is the best way to measure intelligence?
The first art in Canada was created by the Indigenous people. The first European art in Canada was created by the French in the 1600s.
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