The Psychology Of Testing

Deborah Venable



Was there a conservative news site or radio station anywhere in the country that did not make mention of the latest and greatest United States History test scores recently released?  It is deplorable news, but did it surprise anyone?  Does it surprise us at all that high school students do not have even a basic knowledge of our history?  But wait!  That isn’t the half of it!  These tests were, I would confidently assume, the modern type of mostly multiple-choice queries that are suspect, in my mind, of producing any reliable data anyway.   Modern educators have embraced this testing format as the preferred method for checking academic proficiency.  Too bad.  I may be a minority of one, but I simply do not see how, what we used to call a “magic pencil test” in my day, can possibly measure academic proficiency as well as essay questions or even fill in the blank types of tests. 


Educational psychologists will more than likely vehemently disagree.  The truth of the matter, however, is that the teaching profession has gotten lazy – pure and simple.  I know exactly how these multiple choice tests are developed and analyzed for validity, and that academia is confident in their ability to measure the knowledge base of individuals taking them.  Can you say, psychobabble?  How about balderdash!


Let’s take for an example a paraphrase of an actual question on this aforementioned history test:

In World War II, the United States had as an ally

a.      Japan

b.     Germany

c.      Soviet Union

d.      Italy


I’m not even going to look up the actual statistic for you on the percentage of high school seniors who did not know that “c” was the correct answer, but it was horrendous!  Not too many “magic pencils” were working right on that one!


Suppose the question had been formatted like this:

Name three countries that fought against the United States in World War II.

Or perhaps even this one:

            During World War II, was the Soviet Union an ally of the United States?


Would not these questions more accurately measure a person’s knowledge than the propaganda tinged multiple-choice one?


I would really appreciate feedback on the above question.  Before anyone points out to me the obvious advantages of using these tests that do not require human grading, may I just propose that perhaps that IS the problem.  You may tell me why or why not you think that may be so.  I do realize that some of these “well respected tests” do utilize to some extent other question formats, just not enough of them do.


Never-the-less, the stock answer of the socialist brainwashing camps, a.k.a. public schools, is always the same - if we are concerned with the educational system, all we need do is throw more money at it and it will be fixed.  Right!  For a society that seems to live by statistics, this one is certainly willing to ignore the facts about that premise.


What happens when we throw more money at it?  Why, more socialist educational programs are mandated of course.  Environmental Awareness, Sexuality and Diversity Training, Multicultural and Bilingual Classes, Social Studies encompassing more in-depth studies of various religions, with no tolerance for reverence being paid to Christianity – that’s where the money goes - your tax dollars at work.


I would propose that the great majority of educators in the public school system, including the colleges and universities, could not pass a true proficiency exam in American History either.  Think that’s outrageous?  They are, after all, products of the same declining system.  College degrees used to mean something, but now they just signify exposure to the high level socialist brainwashing that goes on in the vast majority of college and university classrooms all over the country.  The “sheepskin” has been tainted with a liberal dousing of socialism, so what can we expect from the modern educators who obtain them?


Mandatory education in this country is not working.  Mandated education should have never been instituted and certainly should be ended now.  That is the first step to actually “fixing” the system.  Instead, the course for mandatory college education has already been set in place.  You may not be aware of the fact that there are some high schools that have denied attendance to graduation ceremonies by graduates who cannot produce a letter of acceptance to a school of higher learning or the military.  It is only a matter of time before this will become a requirement to receive a high school diploma. 


Too many will not hear the warning bells that are sounding with this final push to get every child onto those campuses.  It sounds so honorable to support a higher level of education for all citizens, but make no mistake – this will not insure a greater average intellect.  Further “dumbing down” of college students is inevitable as more and more students who really shouldn’t be there are forced to go. 


In case anyone is under the misconception that the government educational system really cares about the welfare of your children, and only wants what’s best for them, get over it!  It just isn’t true!  This out of control leviathan is not seeking a more intelligent populace to deal with.  If they were, they would be suggesting that education, like everything else worthwhile in life, should be a goal to be freely achieved by the individual.  Forced-fed socialist education will never lead to a well-informed, intelligent electorate. 


This is a test.  If history repeats itself, will anyone recognize it in the future?



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