Standardized Testing Is New Form Of Racical Segregation

Standardized Testing widens achievement gap between black and white people and provides self-hatred among black kids.

Standardized testing has emerged as an important civil rights and racial justice issue says Atlanta Black Star. As society examines the institutions and practices that engender and perpetuate racial inequity, exams are not immune from the analysis.  From No Child Left Behind and “teaching to the test” in public schools, to the SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement exams, high-stakes testing dominates American education.  With a single score on a single exam having the potential to determine which school a student may attend, there is increased scrutiny over the misuse and overuse of these tests, and whether they should be used at all.

Standardized testing have become the most effective racist weapon ever devised to objectively degrade Black minds and legally exclude their bodies,” wrote Ibram X. Kendi — Assistant Professor of History at the University of Florida and author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America — in an African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) blog post. Kendi argues that the achievement gap — that system of racial hierarchy in which white and Asian students find themselves at the top, and where Blacks and Latinos are at the bottom — is itself a result of our blind obedience to standardized testing, and this notion that intelligence is measurable like one’s body weight.

From our standpoint, standardized testing is one means that maintains segregation, particularly in advanced placement courses,” said Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director of FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing.  According to Schaeffer, the tests are “damaging the aspirations” of people of color.

Accourding to Villanovan standardized tests are designed to be “fair” assessments that eradicates bias and unfair advantages. However, performance on standardized testing depends on the quality of the individual school system, material covered in classes and financial status—all of which can be considered unfair advantages. Some schools may have the financial assets to access materials that will improve test performance, while other schools may not have such ample resources. If one school has certain advanced textbooks, technology and other test guides that other schools cannot afford, then the more fortunate schools have an evident unfair advantage since their quality of education will be higher than others. A teacher may do an incredible job explaining material to students, however, if he or she does not have the resources that other schools have, then the students’ educations are compromised.

Specifically for the SATs, many students have an unfair advantage over others due to their financial status. Some students have the financial assets to pay SAT tutors, who teach them techniques and methods for how to solve problems. By having this opportunity, those kids will most likely receive higher scores and thus possess a significant unfair advantage over others who cannot afford such luxuries. Since these standardized test scores are pertinent information used by colleges to determine acceptances, there should not be any unfair advantages that result in higher test scores. A student’s chances of getting accepted into a school should not be dependent on his or her financial status. Colleges do not incorporate the resources used to achieve standardized test scores, therefore students are compared in ineffective ways.

standardized testing

In the 21st century — in 2016 — we’re still using standardized tests to indicate someone’s intelligence,” Mays added, explaining the impact of the exams as a source of racism against Black students.  “You’re constantly microaggressed about this test, which is not an indicator for anything. We have to be 10 times better than the white students, and we are microaggressed by white students when we don’t have the same scores,” he said. “Getting here, we are microaggressed from white people saying: ‘How did you get in? You don’t belong here.’ So not only is there racism in the testing, but now, I am in a predominantly white school where people have an ACT score of 25, and I have a 20. … People say, ‘Oh, you only got here because of affirmative action.’  We are in these places where we are told we don’t belong here.”

Standardized testing imposes disproportionate harm on Black students by ignoring cultural differences and needs, forcing Black boys into special-education programs, and creating mental anguish among test takers. Further, the tests help to encourage zero-tolerance policies, and force urban schools with limited funding to cut art and music programs as a cost-saving measure.

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