two twenty seven

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Standardized Testing

For my Psychology and Law class today, I was reading about psychological standardized tests and how they are used so often in everyday life. SATS, LSATS, ACT, CRE, XYZ, so many acronyms for such an important concept. Think about it -- your entire life is dictated by these small markers of your "intelligence" and "aptitude".

Once, I was applying to be a waitress, and I had to take a "personality assessment"...and didn't pass. Uhm, wait, does that mean my personality fails or just I do? I am pretty sure I am capable of being a waitress for crying out loud. (In retrospect, fate probably stepped in because that would have been a terrible summer working there.)

All of these "scores", so many numbers defining who I am. Social security number, SAT score, GPA, curved scores, grades, grades, grades. As it nears the end of the school year, once again I am constantly bombarded by the importance of this arbitrary 'grades' thing. All of these mathematical equations and symbols to define my worth as a human being. My achievements open to discussion based on a scale of 1 to 10. My personality, assigned a set of digits. My growth, reduced down to nothing but a 3.68 on an end-of-the-year score report.

I am sick to death of being reduced to a three-digit grade point average. I am sick of people basing their self-worth on a calculus test, their happiness on whether or not they finish their homework.

Besides, these tests? They have no empirical evidence anyway. There is zero correlation between 'achievement in life' and your GPA. You doubt me. 'Achievement in life' has absolutely nothing to do with grades, nothing to do with classes, nothing at all to do with any of these mundane, tangible numbers. It has absolutely nothing to do with how many times you failed the LSAT and a lot more to do with how many times you've fallen in love. It doesn't even have to do with the number of your pants size, your dress size, more unimportant numbers telling me where I rank.

No, I don't think we should do away with grades by any means. But, for God's sake, take a breath. There's more to life than this.