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Do Standardized Tests Really Measure Intelligence?

Some may beg to differ when people say the SAT or ACT are not fair to everyone. Not everyone may test well, so these tests are not an accurate assessment of someone’s intelligence. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the SAT first stood for the Scholastic Aptitude Test, then the Scholastic Assessment Test; now it does not stand for anything. The SAT is a college entrance exam for high school students, and it measures strictly mathematical and verbal reasoning skills.

On the other hand, the ACT, which stood for American College Testing, is scored differently and measures English, math, reading, science and an optional writing section.

Some people may argue that these standardized tests will determine how well someone will do in college, but then again some people are not good test takers and perform better on tests that they can study for. Therefore, I believe standardized tests do not accurately measure intelligence of people because everyone performs differently on tests. There are many advantages to taking standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT.

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One being practicality, which is the biggest argument of standardized tests. Aspects include: Standardized tests are less time-consuming than more complicated assessments that need personal time with every student. Standardized tests are easier to administer. There are explicit directions given and each student is given the same directions in the same way. They are easier to grade, machines do it for us. They are very easy to use a computer to track progress and levels of achievement for different groups of students in different subjects.

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Holloway) Secondly, accountability plays a huge role in the pros of these tests. Nathan, author of “The Human Face of the High-Stakes Testing Story” says, “Setting high expectations for students and holding them accountable for the same standards, leads to achievement gains. High-stakes testing forces students to take education seriously” (Nathan). In other words, if it was not for these tests, then students would not take school seriously and would have no records of how they can apply their knowledge. Lastly, instigator of change is the pro that is least important.

Gardner, author of “Forecasting and Managing Student Achievement on High-Stakes Test” states, “when we identify a problem in a classroom, school, or district we can then take active steps in correcting that problem. In addition, achievement data from tests provide teachers with valuable information to improve classroom and student learning” (Gardner). Which means, some people may think that the SAT’s may be a fair and reliable test for students to take to get into college, but others may feel that the students GPA is more important for the colleges to look at.

Gatson, author of “SATs Help Colleges Make Smarter Admissions Calls,” also articulates, The SAT offers a standardized, level playing field in the admissions process, where grade inflation has made it difficult to weigh the real value of the GPA of a student from one school against that of a student from another” (Caperton). Meaning it’s hard to compare the scores with the students GPA among different schools. On the contrary, what is so bad about standardized testing?

Standardized tests do not measure what someone has learned because it is all knowledge that has been retained and applied over the years of being educated. For example, Popham, author of “Right Task Wrong Tool” states, It is a common misconception that what is taught in a classroom and what is tested are the same thing. It is also wrongly thought that what is tested is what is taught in the classroom. Unfortunately, what students are tested on, don’t always match up with the instructional content and objectives of the classroom. This is what is known as “testing-teaching mismatches.  In a study done at MSU almost 20 years ago, researchers found that as many as 50% of the items on a nationally standardized achievement test may cover topics that students wouldn’t in the classroom in a given locality. (Popham) But then again, people have tutors and study for specific sections of these standardized tests and would argue that its not “natural knowledge. ” I think they should be testing information that is already learned knowledge not material just for these tests. Standardized tests do not reflect what students learn in school; therefore do not measure intelligence.

The information you learn in high school prepares one for college; consequently, that is what I think the student should be tested on to be admitted into colleges. “Standardized tests are not really fair and do not measure the ability to think or create in any field” (What’s Wrong.. ).

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Do Standardized Tests Really Measure Intelligence?. (2018, Sep 21). Retrieved from

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