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Standardized Testing

            In the article "The High-Stakes Testing." Gary Orfield and Johanna Wald, both researchers at Harvard Graduate School, state that the policy of high-stakes testing was first conceived to help raise the educational standards but has only discriminated against high poverty and minority students. Public concern has caused political campaigns to discuss standardized testing policies in recent years. According to Orfield and Wald, public interest leaders feel that citizens want to hold the school systems accountable for the inequality of standardized tests, which are causing some educational advocates to show concern that some teachers will lower their standards so students scores will improve.
             Orfield and Wald suggest that the reform movement of high stakes testing has worsened the educational problem; that tests are unfair to minority students, "undermine teachers," and refuse high school graduation to students who do not pass a one-shot test (1). Moreover, many teacher and principal's salaries rely on standardized tests, which may have the effect of many high poverty schools wanting to hire uncertified and inexperienced teachers who teach test preparation. .
             Also, Orfield and Wald point out that high stakes testing narrows the curriculum by teaching to the test. This is where teachers only educate the basic points of learning needed to pass a test instead of examining topics from different points of view over a period of time. Many students are taught how to pass the test, but do not comprehend the material. This way of teaching is seen mostly in high poverty schools where the population is made up of minority and poor students. Among the poverty-stricken students are mostly black males who are the ones that are "disproportionately represented" among those held back and denied a diploma (2). Furthermore, high-stakes testing causes an increase in dropout rates, especially among minorities.

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