The article to be reviewed is ” Editor’s Comment: When Standardized Tests Miss the Mark Ivory A. Toldson of Howard University published in the Journal of Negro Education 2012. Vol. 81, No. 3. In this article, the author attempts to fault standardized tests especially in the US. In doing so, the author repeats an article by an eleven grader about how these tests have been unsuccessful in judging ability, especially amongst the African Americans. He explains that behind every statistic, there is a human spirit that is resilient and or fragile.
The article tries to find out the reasoning behind the consistent poor performance by African Americans and the Hispanics in the US. The author explains that there has been a consistent blame game between the teachers and parents as to the root cause of the poor performance by these students. The Parents blame teachers for not properly preparing their students while the teachers blame the parents. The examiners and tests companies however blame the achievement gap on the social inequities and cultural deprivations of the these families. This article therefore seeks to find what really causes this and also seeks to answer whether the tests designed are actually the best assessments for the black reading skills.
Analysis of the article
Accordingly, a report released by the Harvard titled, globally challenged: Are U.S.
Deeper into the content of the article, one does not fail to note that the author is not satisfied with the explanations provided by the various stakeholders on this subject and believes that there is a lot to be explained before one can comprehensively conclude on the aptitude of the black children in terms of reading proficiency.
The fact that students do not get fully informed of the purposes of the test, with some believing that such tests are inconsequential as they would not affect their promotions to other grades casts a lot of doubt on the objectivity of the process. The author provides examples of students who were believed to be very poor performers in their previos schools that it came as a surprise when they shined in other schools on similar tests, indicating that the performance of the black children is sometimes affected my a myriad of issues and their proficiency cannot be fully and objectively evaluated in standardized tests.
As explained in the above analysis, it’s not only in reading proficiency where the use of standardized tests cannot be sufficient in measuring a student’s ability. Previous researches on this subject have concluded that there are quite a number of factors that have affected the performance of black students in these standardized tests. Most important of this is the importance that the student attaches to the given tests, as well as the general class environment.
Take the example provided in this article for instance. The teacher believed that such a student would never perform well and had actually relegated him to a small group of non-performers where he was ridiculed for his performance, Its not expected that his performance would improve, given the learning environment.
Standardized tests would only be a fair method of determining performance of students only if the issues raised in this article pertaining to fairness and lack of bias are addressed. The whole educational system needs a paradigm shift from their understand ding of this issue. The saying that ‘if you want to hide something from a black person, hides it in a book’ should be discarded and a more objective view by all stakeholders should be adopted.
Everyone needs to understand that the performance of a student is not only determined by their academic aptitude, but also by their goals, objectives and learning environment. The integration of the various aspects of learning in the classroom as well as the tests companies will go a long way in realizing a more objective method of evaluating proficiency in students.
Ivory A. Toldson .Editor’s Comment: When Standardized Tests Miss the Mark, the Journal of Negro Education 2012. Vol. 81, No. 3. Adapted from