Psychological testing - American Education
In education, the administration by individual schools of a range of nonacademic, standardized examinations to measure student intelligence, personality characteristics, abilities and aptitudes and interests; to evaluate student intellectual, emotional and social development; and to diagnose student educational disabilities. Psychological testing in school has been a center of controversy since the 1960s because of its questionable validity and reliability. Many tests use scores of children from middle-income urban and suburban backgrounds as norms, and minority, rural and poor children tend to fare far worse than culturally and economically advantaged children. Because the tests are often used to place children in special school programs and classes for slower children, they become an all but self-fulfilling prophecy of doom for disadvantaged children. Even proponents of psychological testing agree that the use of tests to bar youngsters from educational opportunities is unethical without carefully evaluating the youngster’s background, resources and motivation. Without equal economic and educational opportunities, children cannot perform on an equal basis on psychological tests. In addition, many critics maintain that measuring student values and personality traits represents an unconstitutional invasion of privacy and usurpation of parental prerogative by school authorities.