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Racial Justice and Standardized Educational Testing



Young people of color, particularly those from low-income families, have suffered the most as the explosion of high-stakes standardized testing in U.S. public education has undermined equity and school quality. i Positive assessment alternatives that will help these students and their schools do exist. They must be fought for and won in the policy arena. Decades of research demonstrate that African American, Latino and Native American students, as well as students from some Asian groups, experience the following problems with high-stakes testing, from early childhood through college entrance: They disproportionately fail state or local high school graduation exams. Those tests provide no social or educational benefit. They do not improve college or employment readiness. Not having a diploma leads to higher rates of unemployment and imprisonment and lower rates of forming stable families. ii Students in these groups are more likely to be held back in grade because of low test scores. Grade retention produces no long-term academic benefits; it undermines self-esteem and doubles the likelihood of dropping out. Boys are subject to this damage more often than are girls. iii Because, on average, students of color score lower on college admissions tests (SAT and ACT)

Year: 2011
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