Ohio University

Standardized Test Scores

The Unit for the Preparation of Education Professionals Position Statement on the Overuse and Misuse of Standardized Test Scores for Admission into Educator Preparation Programs

Presented on 2/21/20

The members of the Unit for the Preparation of Education Professionals (UPEP) at Ohio University (OHIO) maintain an active commitment to diversity, inclusion, and academic rigor. Longstanding debates exist on the use of standardized tests, such as the ACT, SAT, and Praxis, as a tool for preventing admission into higher education. Given the lack of evidence that standardized test scores correlate with eventual success as a teacher, UPEP members believe that relying on standardized test scores as an obstacle to admissions is unnecessary and unwarranted. Further, it leads to inequitable opportunities and outcomes since standardized test scores serve as a deterrent to many students, including historically and currently marginalized groups of people. This has the effect of decreasing the diversity of individuals who apply and are admitted. 

Aligning with critical scholars, we believe that achievement gaps in standardized test scores, based on socioeconomic status and race, are due to the historical and contemporary opportunity gaps and the biased nature of standardized tests themselves. Thus, we are committed to instituting an equity-oriented approach to student admissions and successful matriculation into the education field by using a holistic approach to evaluating teacher candidate applications. A more equity-based approach would increase the number of historically and currently underrepresented students whose presence we seek to increase in The Patton College of Education. This equity-based solution will result in the removal of a minimum standardized test score as the determining criterion for admission into OHIO’s Unit of Education.

While student applicants will be required to take standardized tests, their scores will be evaluated in tandem with requirements such as GPA, rigor of pre-college coursework, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Research continues to demonstrate that standardized test scores do not accurately predict nor definitively determine whether teacher candidates will become effective teachers. For students who possess lower standardized test scores, but maintain competitive GPAs, UPEP members will ensure that these candidates are provided with the necessary academic support.  

To learn more about the research that grounds OHIO’s position statement, please refer to the literature referenced below.

References

Au, W. (2011). Neither Fair nor Accurate: Research-Based Reasons Why High-Stakes Tests Should Not Be Used to Evaluate Teachers. Rethinking Schools, 25(2), 34-38.

Bennett, C. I., McWhorter, L. M., & Kuykendall, J. A. (2006). Will I ever teach? Latino and African American students’ perspectives on PRAXIS I. American Educational Research Journal, 43(3), 531-575.

Carver-Thomas, D. (2018). Diversifying the teaching profession: How to recruit and retain teachers of color. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute.                              

Jaschik, S. (2018, April 27) Making the case for test optional. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/04/27/large-study-finds-colleges-go-test-optional-become-more-diverse-and-maintain.

Nadwordy, A. (2019, Dec. 10) Lawsuit claims SAT And ACT are illegal In California admissions. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2019/12/10/786257347/lawsuit-claims-sat-and-act-are-illegal-in-california-admissions.

Stewart, S., & Haynes, C. (2015). An alternative approach to standardized testing: A model that promotes racial equity and college access. Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs, 2(1), 9.