Standardized testing in the US today: significant events in how the system came to be, and its effects on an American student

  • NYS Board of Regents passes testing ordinance

    NYS Board of Regents passes testing ordinance
    The NYS Board of Regents develops examinations to evaluate specific subject matter comprehension and to award students able to pass such assessments with certificates: "The purpose of the first preliminary examinations was to provide a basis for the distribution of State funds allocated by statute to encourage academic education" ("History of Regents Examinations: 1865 to 1987," 2010).
  • Regents exams first implemented in New York State

    NYS first uses Regents exams for 8th graders as high school entrance exams (Timeline & History of New York State Assessments).
  • NYS makes Regents exams end-of-course evaluations

    For the first time, New York state uses the Regents exams as a cumulative evaluation at the end of individual high school courses (Timeline & History of New York State Assessments).
  • Binet creates first intelligence test

    Alfred Binet, a French psychologist, creates the first intelligence test, made up of written questions for school children to come up with their "mental age" (Lemann, 1999).
  • Robert M. Yerkes presents his "Plan for the Psychological Examining of Recruits to Eliminate the Mentally Unfit" to the Army Medical Corps

    Yerkes, a psychologist, presented his plan for testing to the Surgeon General of the Army Medical Corps, William C. Gorgas. The tests would "uncover recruits with 'intellectual deficiency, psychopathic tendencies, nervous instability, and inadequate self-control'" (Carson, 1993).
  • Introduction of the SAT

    Carl Campbell Brigham, a psychology professor at Princeton University and author of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, introduces and administers the SAT for the first time (Lemann, 1999).
  • First Scholarship Examinations administered

    Scholarship Examinations were used to test incomong Ivy League freshmen who had received scholarships to attend these universities (Lemann, 1999).
  • Army-Navy College Qualification Test

    The Army-Navy College Qualification Test is first given 316,000 high school seniors, in an effort to find young men with the potential to fill advanced technical positions in Army/Navy, rather than being shipped off to war immediately (Lemann, 1999).
  • President Roosevelt signs the GI Bill

    James Bryant Conant, a leading proponent of the SAT and president of Harvard University from 1933-1953, stands strongly against the GI Bill (or the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944) which provided World War II veterans the opportunity to attend college for free upon arrival home. Conant believed that only the most intellectually-abled should be allowed to attend and graduate from college (Lemann, 1999).
  • Commission on Higher Education submits Zook Report to President Truman, calling for equal college education for all

    Though it seemed as if higher education would now provide equal educational opportunity for all, the merging of the American Council on Education and the College Board to form ETS was actually a win for those in favor of a ranking system based on test scores (Lemann, 1999).
  • Educational Testing Services (ETS) is founded

    Educational Testing Services (ETS) is founded
    The ETS is founded and brings together the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) to be used to determine college admissions (Spring, 2011).
  • Selective Service System signs contract with ETS

    In March, 1951, the Selective Service signs a contract with ETS to test up to a million college students in an effort to exempt high-scoring students from being drafted to fight in the Cold War (Lemann, 1999)
  • NYS Regents extends testing to lower grades

    For the first time, New York state extends the Regents exams to evaulate students in reading and mathematics in grades 3, 6, and 9, called the Pupil Evaluation Program (PEP) (Timeline & History of New York State Assessments).
  • Leon Lessinger publishes "Every Kid a Winner: Accountability in Education"

    Leon Lessinger publishes "Every Kid a Winner: Accountability in Education"
    According the Joel Spring, Every Kid a Winner sparked the accountability movement, which called for education to be held publicly accountable (Spring 2011).
  • My mom's high school graduation

    My mom's high school graduation
    After only an "average" performance on standardized aptitude tests like the SAT, my mom is told by high school guidance counselors that she is not cut out for college. Subsequently, she enters the work force for fear that her counselors are correct. She is essentially shuffled into the lower working class based on a test score. Today, working on a single income and only a high school diploma, she barely makes ends meet.
  • A Nation at Risk

    A Nation at Risk
    During President Ronald Reagan's first term, A Nation at Risk is released, a report "which blamed public schools for America's difficulties in competing with Japan and West Germany in world markets" (Spring, 2011).
  • Goals 2000

    Goals 2000
    President George H. W. Bush introduces Goals 2000 - plans for achieving national education goals by the year 2000, which suggested implementing "American Achievement Tests" for grades 4, 8, and 12 (Spring, 2011).
  • "Four going on 40"

    My preschool teacher tells my mom that I'm "four going on 40" because I'm mature and smart for my age. My mom was very proud of this comment and told me that my teacher had made this remark. Looking back, I became very confident in myself and my abilities after I learned that she had said that, and therefore rarely, if ever, questioned my own intellectual ability until high school, particularly after taking the SAT.
  • I started kindergarten

    The high school graduating class of 2006 were some of the first students to feel the direct effect of the most recent standardized testing boom after the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
  • Goals 2000 Educate America Act

    Goals 2000 Educate America Act
    President Bill Clinton signs the Goals 2000 Educate America Act, which to the Clinton administration was another step toward lifelong learning for American school children. Major components included funding for Head Start programs and adult education, a focus on "training the workforce to meet new economic demands" and ephasizing the need to help the children of the poor have the same opportunities to attend college and get a quality education (Spring, 2011).
  • My mom goes back to work

    After staying home to raise my brother and me, my mom went back to work as a teacher's aide so that she could earn some money but still be on the same schedule as us. 15 years later, she is still a teacher's aide, with expanded roles in the administrative offices at the school, and working with special needs and physically disabled children, yet she makes nearly the same amount of money as she did on day one, thanks in large part to her lack of a college education.
  • My first standardized tests

    I took my first standardized tests in 4th grade and did well on them.
  • No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

    No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
    President George W. Bush signs NCLB into law which, among many other things, looks to close the achievement gap in American elementary and secondary education through a system of teacher and school district accountablity, measured by yearly standardized tests (Title I — Improving The Academic Achievement Of The Disadvantaged, 2004).
  • I took the SAT

    I took the SAT one time and scored slightly above average. I was nervous that my performance might hinder my ability to get into colleges of my choice.
  • Almost failed the Chemistry Regents

    For the first time in my life, I needed a tutor for a subject and was extremely stressed about failing the cumulative, standardized subject test. I remember being so anxious about the test that I nearly became physically ill on test day.
  • My high school graduation

    My high school graduation
    Graduated from high school with a distinguished "regents" diploma (as opposed to a "regular" diploma) after succesfully passing a series of New York state standardized tests throughout high school. Failure of the regents exams result in a black mark on high school transcripts and may play a role in college acceptances or rejections, particularly in NY state.
  • Started undergraduate program at Ithaca College

    Started undergraduate program at Ithaca College
    Though I was nervous about my regents exams throughout high school, and the SAT, my grades and scores were satisfactory and allowed me admittance to Ithaca College, a private college in New York state.
  • Dwindling confidence

    My confidence in myself took a momentary blow after a discussion with several of my Cornell friends about SAT scores, theirs being (in some cases) hundreds of points higher than mine.
  • The state of Ohio adopts the Common Core State Standards initiative

    The Common Core reevaluates the direction of the US's current educational standards, creating a heightened awareness of standardized testing (In the States, 2012).
  • The state of New York adopts the Common Core State Standards initiative

    The Common Core reevaluates the direction of the US's current educational standards, creating a heightened awareness of standardized testing (In the States, 2012).
  • I took the GRE

    I felt the familiar pressure of taking an aptitude test as part of the admittance process to JCU. I specifically remember being happy after I graduated college, feeling certain that my days of standardized test-taking were over.
  • Started graduate program at JCU

    Started graduate program at JCU
    For perhaps the first time, my admittance into a collegiate program was not heavily based on a standardized test (though I did take the GRE, I was told it was not a factor in being accepted into the school-based M.Ed. program at JCU).