Sunday, September 29, 2019

Negative Aspects of the SAT

The SAT requirement should be completely phased out from the college admission. The SAT has been used as the primary means of assessing students. The SAT is commercially published test that contain a number of items and have a uniform procedure for administration and scoring. The problem with the increase in SAT is that the tests present many challenging obstacles for students and teachers. The message being sent to students is that the only thing that matters in their whole educational experience is their test score. Rather than attacking the ‘root problem’ of academic failure, attention is being focused on comparing scores among schools. Fratt (p. 17) found that 62 percent of the states in which the SAT exams have been adopted to assess the students’ abilities have experienced a high and continuously increasing drop out rate. The high-scoring schools become models, and the low-scoring schools are seen failure (). As test scores are relied on for important educational decisions such as college admission, questions need to be raised about the validity of the SAT. Negative Aspects of SAT The SAT provides worthwhile information, but lacks realism and undermines the educational process. The U.S. is the only nation that relies upon SAT for college admission. Countries such as Europe and Asia use essays, oral exams and exhibit of students’ work. These assessment measures tend to measure students’ skills and knowledge in a more meaningful way including high-order thinking and problem-solving skills, whereas the SAT tend to focus on concrete, isolated skills (Black & Duhon, p. 90-98). An assumption of the SAT is that if a student is able to perform a skill in the test, he or she is able to perform that same skill in his or her own work. For example, if a student can perform de-contextualized editing on a SAT exam, he or she will be able to edit his or her own work. The SAT tends to focus on isolated skills, encourage low-level comprehension, rely only on multiple-choice formats, and produce scores at times that are not useful in planning instruction. Students are not involved in their own assessment. Labels may cause educators or parents to inappropriately alter the treatment towards these children. Children who receive low scores usually are placed in special classes wher the curriculum involves drill and skill worksheets. They fail to learn what their advantages peers are learning. School personnel often have lower expectations for students placed in lower tracts or remedial classes due to low-test scores. These children are more likely to receive an inferior education and they do not get admission in good colleges (Buell & Kralovec, p. 17-18). Using test results can be harmful to students receiving low scores as well as high scores. The SAT exams are used to identify the academically gifted and talented. Children identified as such as usually given additional material and resources in school. The students who score high on standardized tests show stress-related symptoms and a fear of failure. This heavy emphasis on scores can devalue teacher judgment and seriously affect a student’s self-esteem. Test-induced stress can lead to increased anxiety in all students. Low performing students especially feel that they have already failed, and the test just adds to their feelings of low self-worth. The greatest disservice a formal test can have on a student is the depletion of a student’s self-esteem. Students perceive themselves as failures when they receive labels such as ‘behind’, ‘at-risk’, ‘immature’, and ‘remedial’. Children who do poorly on tests tend to feel poorly about themselves and possess negative images. When students are labeled slow learners because of the SAT exams, their educational opportunity becomes narrowed and unchallenged. These students begin a lifetime of drill and skill worksheets. High portions of these students come from minority groups or special classes. Every test reflects the background of the people who construct the test, who are mostly white, upper to middle class professionals. Most of the experiences they are questioning come from their background leaving out the background of many of the potential test-takers (Heriot & Wonnell, p. 467-483). The SAT exams are also biased in favor of English-fluent pupils only. Many limited English proficient (LEP) students are improperly assessed and decisions about their placement are made incorrectly. Language dominance seems to have a negative effect for students of different cultural backgrounds, and non-English speaking students have trouble with interpretations of test language. Tests are written with complex grammar and oftentimes are hard to understand. As test results are shown, students who are more likely to fail include the disproportionately poor and African American students, which undermine the mission of offering all students an opportunity to learn. Children from low income and minority groups are often harmed for life because of low test scores. The curriculum is ‘dumbed-down’ for these students because the educators feel they cannot handle the regular curriculum. This leads to a boring curriculum for these students (Stahlman, p. 242). Civil rights and parent advocacy groups are challenging that these tests penalize minority and at-risk students who have been short changed education. African Americans and Latinos are usually forced into the bottom tracks solely based on their low test scores. Another negative impact to low-income students is the fact they have not had some of the experience as other students. If children come from affluent families and stimulus-rich environments, they are more apt to score higher on the SAT exams. On of the chief reasons that a student’s socioeconomic status is highly correlated to scores on the SAT exams and college admission is because many questions on the tests measure what is learned outside of school. Some students are offered more experiences than others, thus affecting their scores (Ullman, p. 18). Conclusion Assessment is needed in the public schools that benefit all students and focus on improving learning instead of ranking and labeling students into specific categories. The SAT exams are not perfect or absolute measures of what individual students can or cannot do. For instance, paper-and-pencil tests give teacher only part of the picture of a student’s strengths and weaknesses. A student’s scores on a particular test may also vary from day to day, depending on whether the student guesses, received clear directions, follows the directly carefully, takes the test seriously, and is comfortable in taking the test. School personnel must not limit assessment to the SAT exams or allow them to dominate the assessment. Assessment is definitely multidimensional and must take into consideration multiple measures to evaluate a person’s full capabilities. Without a more inclusive assessment process, those who can contribute to and benefit from society will be forever excluded from the opportunities to do so. The researcher after reviewing the literature that has been published in past and that has been discussed in this paper that the SAT requirement to get admission in a college should be phased out in order to make the process of college admission fair and transparent. Works Cited Black, H. T. & Duhon, D. L. Evaluating and improving student achievement in business programs: The effective use of standardized assessment tests. Journal of Education for Business, 79 (2) (2003), 90-98. Buell, J., & Kralovec, E. High-stakes testing, homework, and the gaming system. Humanist, 65 (3) (2005), 17-18. Fratt, L. Graduation exams under the microscope. District Administration, 41 (4) (2005), 17. Retrieved May 17, 2007, Heriot, G. L. & Wonnell, C. T. Standardized tests under the magnifying glass: A defense of the LSAT against recent charges of bias. Texas Review of Law and Politics, 7 (2) (2003), 467-483. Stahlman, R. Standardized tests: A teacher's perspective. Childhood Education, 81(4) (2005), 242. Ullman, E. Study: High-stakes tests have no effect on achievement. District Administration, 41 (11) (2005), 18. Â  

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