The Tests Aren’t Objective
- By objective we mean based on observable phenomena and not influenced by emotion or personal prejudice. A look at how the tests are made, however, reveals a good deal of subjective human judgement from the people who write, edit, and assemble the test items. Setting the standards also requires judgement that occurs in a political and social context. Achievement levels are, first and foremost, policy statements. The only truly objective part is the scoring. Test scores are not clean, crisp numbers but fuzzy ranges that extend above and below the score, and 5% of the time the true score isn’t even in the fuzzy range. Since numbers confer a sense of fairness and impartiality, they are used to justify decisions that impact students’ lives.
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