Do you think education assessments are biased toward one race or another? Why or why not?
In my experience, education assessments are usually biased towards white, middle-class Americans. I have been told that this is done this way because it is based on the "majority" of Americans and it makes it easier for test makers to make the test- sort of a "one size fits all" solution. Since this is the case, I see that children who are not from white, middle-class America can have many difficulties with these assessments. White children from a lower socio-economic status will have as much difficulty with these assessments as children from other races or cultures.
When efforts have been made to tailor the tests to better fit more than one culture. race or socio-economical status, those efforts have been considered racist by all, because very little effort was made looking into the differences that exist in cultures. Instead of adjusting information or style to fit more races and cultures, test-makers usually rely on changing names of characters in stories or math story problems to more "culturally" acceptable names and then represent students from different races and cultures. Instead of going "deep" into the culture, the just go to the surface.
I don't believe that assessments are biased on purpose - I just think that it takes too much effort on the part of the test makers to make more racially, culturally and socio-economically acceptable.
They shouldn't be! I am actually a freelance writer/educational consultant and guess what I do--write those tests! The companies I write for go to GREAT lengths to make sure that test questions do not have bias or sensitivity issues. There is a document that has about a million things we need to avoid when writing. Then the test questions have to go through multiple internal reviews in which people are looking for this sort of thing. Then they are reviewed by administrators and teachers from the district. And even then, the items are field tested and there's all these statistics formulas that are used to see how the test items performed and if any particular subgroups got them wrong. If so, the items are thrown out. Another committee of teachers/district personal look at the items. Of course I'm talking about the process reputable publishing companies and state boards of education go through. In terms of what a teacher might individually create him/herself in the classroom--that's up for grabs.
Thanks for the insight Seek-n-Find. So who are the field tests performed on? Thanks for stopping by and keep hubbing!
The field tests are performed on all of the students. They sneak them into the real tests that students take but they do not count for the students' score. This way they get accurate data. It is the items that are being tested in that case.
I don't think education assessments are biased racially so much as they're biased socio-economically. Blanket education assessments are, in a way, designed to fail because they do not take into account that not all education is created equal. Education falls to the responsibility of the state instead of being federally regulated, which means states handle how their children are educated for the most part. Funding ends up funneled toward whatever area has more political clout (aka the wealthier areas, as education is typically funded by taxes, so wealthier areas pay more in taxes, so they get more money, etc), which in turn leads to poorer performances of those of a lower socio-economic class. This, in turn, means children of a lower socio-economic don't receive the same level of education (their teachers aren't as good, their curriculum and books aren't as good, etc), which destines them to perform poorly on standardized testing.
Culture should have no real bearing in text questions, as questions are designed to test fairly generic knowledge (science, math, reading comprehension). The only area where culture could truly be incorporated would be social studies - which our country needs an overhaul of how we handle history education anyway, but that doesn't really start with testing so much as it starts with curriculum and teachers. You can't incorporate culture into your standardized testing until you've incorporated it into curriculum. If education (curriculum and funding) was more strictly regulated by the federal government, it might be easier to handle blanket educational assessment, but until that happens, there will always be a bias against those in lower socio-economic brackets.
There actually is a federal aspect to creating consistency among states. What you speak was an issue but states are now moving towards a central standard--these are the CCS standards (common core). How teachers teach these standards though....
Thanks Brandi for stopping by and commenting. Keep hubbing!
No. They are not. I have been an Examiner for an Examining Board in UK for over 5 years and when we mark exams, there is nothing stating the race of a candidate.
1) Generic Performance descriptors are used to mark fairly.
2) A certain percentage of Assessments are double marked by others, to ensure marks are fair. In the case of NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) - there would be an Internal Verifier double checking. I know that because I am also an NVQ Assessor.
A "Mean" Teacher might get away with it in classrooms, NOT in a big Assessment (and observant parents should be able to pick on it, if they check their kids books).
Hope that helps.
I believe that educational assessments are more biased toward particular learning styles than by race. Students who are gifted in the verbal/linguistic area will always do well on the assessments because they can read and understand what is being asked and how they need to respond. Those gifted in the tactile, auditory, visual, interpersonal, intrapersonal, or musical areas are at more of a disadvantage because reading and responding are not where their strengths lie. That is just one of the reasons that I disagree with using one singular exam to determine the intelligence of any child. Brandi brings up important points about socio-economic bias, but I think that comes long before the contrast between rich and poor schools. Those children living in poverty are much less likely to have literate parents who love language and books and have good reading materials in their homes. And when both parents are working, there's not a lot of time for sitting down with their children and enjoying a good book or magazine article! Good understanding of vocabulary and language is developed from frequent interaction with adults through conversation as well. All children, regardless of the language spoken at home, are English Language Learners, and knowing the language is what makes one successful on those high stakes educational assessments.
Good points! I agree that assessments are more difficult to use for the various learning styles. I know the assessments I work on are moving that direction , though. Assessments should be "a" tool--not the only tool used for measuring students!
How do you feel about test results being a measure of the quality of a teacher?
Hm.That's tricky.Again, I think they could be a tool but should not carry too much weight. I think they are helpful indicators but should not be decision-makers. There should be formal and informal measurements for teachers, just like for students.
I agree that test scores should not carry much weight. If compared with the previous years' test results for those same children, one can draw conclusions as to how effective the teacher was for the current year. But that's not always accurate.
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