The messaging that surrounds standardized testing (e.g., that it is both necessary and beneficial) bombards our students in school and on their social media accounts. Parents are told that these tests will accurately measure a student’s knowledge, encourage them to work diligently, and hold schools accountable. Critics that challenge these aspects argue that these exams do nothing short of forcing students to memorize information rather than truly learning and understanding the material. A study led by former Dean of Admissions for Bates College, Wiliam Hiss, recorded graduation rates of students who completed standardized tests versus those who did not and the results showed that only 0.5% of a GPA point distinguished the test-takers from non-test-takers. This study points to the possibility that perhaps standardized tests really are just preparing students to be good standardized test takers.
[shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”23825847″] Have you ever thought of standardized testing as big business? Probably not. It may come as a surprise that the standardized testing industry is worth between $400-$700 million according to the National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College. Additionally, Gaston Caperton, President of the College Board, nonprofit owner of SAT, and Richard Ferguson, former executive officer of ACT, Inc., pulled in salaries of $1.3 and 1.1 million, respectively, in 2011 alone! Parents can expect to pay exam fees but may not realize the cost associated with test prep. For families with little to no savings for college, test prep can place a significant strain on the family budget. Expenses can include tutoring fees, test prep book fees, and sometimes even counseling. All in all, test prep cost families 13.1 billion in 2015.