No college student left behind

Standardized tests are not a credible tool in measuring higher education.

In its nonstop march toward running the United States like a corporation, the Bush administration once again has shown its propensity toward the insidious ìownership” society by creating a commission to examine whether standardized testing should be expanded to colleges and universities across the country.

The commission, which was appointed by the Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings last fall, has until August to submit a formal report regarding the feasibility of using standardized tests for colleges and universities. The commission chairman already has stated that he believes a nationwide system using standard formats is ìclearly lacking” in the higher education system.

It is lacking for good reason. To mandate a uniform test would negate the entire purpose of going to a college or university. Rather than broadening oneís horizons or becoming a lifelong learner, a student would spend his or her academic career trying to cram for one big test. If the tests were made voluntary, college students would know better than to lift one finger in preparation for a test that was not at all beneficial to them.

Proponents of standardized testing in colleges and universities argue that more and more students are graduating with poor writing and critical reasoning skills, but these are prerequisites for college and need to be addressed during standard K-12 education. The nation already has seen how ineffective standardized testing is in that arena.

Examining the use of standardized tests in colleges and universities is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at pandering to big business. Itís no surprise that the members of the commission are pro-business bureaucrats who would like nothing more than to push forward a standardized test that would essentially do all their human resource work for them. It is also no surprise that Jonathan Grayer, the chief executive of Kaplan Inc., a test-coaching company, promotes the idea of expanding standardized testing in college in his capacity as a member of the commission.