Final Presidential Speaker talks tests Reply

By Allison Nekola – Co-Editor-in-Chief

At the final installment of the Presidential Speaker Series, Dr. Warner Slack greeted folks from Lasell Village, students, faculty, and administration before delivering his lecture on the irrelevance of standardized testing for not only secondary school students, but high school students as well.

President Michael Alexander introduced Slack, who is a resident of Lasell Village, as members of the audience welcomed him with a roaring applause. Slack mastered the art of public speaking; he stood calm and confidently, projecting his voice for the crowd in the back. He reminded

us that children have taken standardized tests for over a century, by shifting back in time to 1910, when standardized testing was created.

According to Slack, standardized testing started off as a measurement used to prove white Americans were superior in intelligence to those of citizens of foreign descent or African-American. What these tests did not take into consideration was the use of English vocabulary, a disadvan- tage for any participant whose native language is not English. Educational disadvantages for African-Americans contributed to their poor scores, not innate lack of intelligence. Environmental factors alter standardized test scores like the SATs, a vital component of student’s admission to college.

“This is really a disservice to children who take the test,” said Slack. He and his colleagues confronted the Educational Testing Services (ETS), about their claims that IQ correlates with work performance and a higher test score predicts higher grades and ability to learn in college.

 

Slack condoned the “trimming away contradictory science,” which he claims the ETS has done with their studies proving SATs do predict work performance and reflect IQ. While at least 100 colleges across the country announced SAT scores are an optional piece of the application process, after Slack spoke with President Alexander, Kate O’Connor, and Jim Tweed, they made it clear that colleges feel pressure from the ETS to keep SATs, and even ACTs, a required form for applicants.

 

“This test is just made up of rarely used vocabulary and tricky math,” said Slack when referring to the extraneous nature of the test.

Slack hopes in the near future these tests will be “remembered only by historical reference.”

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