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The Fairness of Academic Evaluation American students used to pass from grade to grade with few complications Getting into a college was effortless and acquiring degrees was a piece of cake In 1983 A Nation at Risk was published and Americans realized how inferior their education systems really were Due to the decline in test scores in American schools education standards became much stricter and new intelligence exams were introduced Presently standardized testing such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test SAT and the American College Testing Program ACT is a mandatory and important part of the college acceptance process Although these exams test students on the same topics genders have proven to be stronger in some fields and weaker in others Men are typically stronger in mathematical and visual-spatial components while women are stronger in verbal aspects of the exams For these reasons standardized testing is an unfair way of determining ones intelligence though they are quite fair if comb ined with grades and activities in the college admissions process On the surface the objective measures of todays standardized tests sound sensible In theory they give every student a solid picture of achievement and an equal opportunity for advancement But after years of memorization and drills what were once intellectually excited and motivated five-year-olds have become bored or grade-obsessed teenagers Their thrill over accomplishing real tasks and exhibiting real skills is replaced with anxiety over upcoming tests and a concern for high grades By giving the exams such importance they are stripping the classrooms of all of the freedom of learning and encouraging the students to focus not on what they want to learn but what they have to learn to pass the exams But isnt accepting the pitfalls of societal norms a necessary part of growing up The transition from secondary school to college is an important step not only to the person making it but also to a nation
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