Standardized Testing

Source: USA Today, Oct 2013

In an American society that values originality and creativity, it makes no sense to subject millions of students to “one size fits all” testing that inspires uniform skills and conformity.

Culturally speaking, I also understand why standardized tests might be popular in societies that value conformity, such as Japan.

But conformity cannot be achieved without punishing those who deviate from the standards. As the Japanese saying goes, “The nail that sticks out gets hammered back in.”

SAT numbers like 1,200 or 1,900 are meaningful only if we are trying to create a workforce of automatons. That could be fine for some countries, but by resisting standardizing forces, the U.S. can help students cultivate their unique talents.

Katrin Park, a former United Nations staff member in New York and Asia, works for a London international group focused on oil spills.


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