Publication Date

2010

Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan

Abstract

Standardized testing is an educational phenomenon that increased in the United States with the release of a national commission entitled, “A Nation at Risk,” in the early 1980’s. Power to choose curriculum goals and objectives was shifted away from parents, teachers, and school administrators to experts who believed higher standards would result in a more secure U.S. economy (Meier, 2000, p. 10). As standardization has expanded, so have complaints about the tests. Many critics of standardized tests offer criticisms, such as: students’ anxiety and fear, the race and class inequalities perpetuated by the tests, and the political benefits the tests provide policy makers and testing corporations. One voice that is seldom heard in the arguments about standardized testing is that of parents. As a result, parents at a 7-12th grade school were surveyed about their perspectives of standardized tests. The results show that parents react to standardized testing due to the experiences of their children and the schools their children attend, rather than in a broader, analytical way. This paper argues that the analyses of many anti-standards commentators do not include a focus on class struggle. A structural analysis of standardized testing is provided, along with suggestions for future resistance against standardized tests.

Disciplines

Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Education Policy | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Urban Education

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