A Measure of Failure: The Political Origins of Standardized by Mark J. Garrison

By Mark J. Garrison

Asks how and why standardized checks became the ever-present general during which academic fulfillment and intelligence are measured.

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Rather, the problem is that the model (or standard) should assist in reaching some larger goal, and not become the goal itself (as is the case when the goal of teaching is given as raising test scores). In this regard, teaching to the test is the elimination of an aim, and actually goes against the nature of a standard by dislodging it from its raison d’être. 4 Struggles over standards and standardized tests in particular are likely rooted in struggles over the aim—the purpose and function of education (Bracey 2002, chap.

Scoring gives the impression that IQ tests measure intelligence in 40 A Measure of Failure the same way that rulers measure length. ” Likewise, one could answer the question how smart someone is by reporting an IQ of 116. But unlike height, a magnitude inhering in or a feature of persons, the IQ metric is an artifact of how the test is constructed; intelligence quotient points do not reflect properties inhering in individuals, but rather reflect the individual’s relation to society (the norm group) and social organization more generally.

Had he admitted that children were merely classified by level of performance (or even by level of mental development) there would have been no basis on which to account for school attainment in terms of measured intelligence (Nash 1990). That an entire field (what is referred to here as psychometry) could be granted so much authority and financial support, at least in part on the basis of measurement, with evident uncertainty of what is being measured is, in fact, baffling and, in my view, perversely irrational.

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