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The Pipeline

More Intelligences than One

Photo Courtesy of Naz Announcer

Photo Courtesy of Naz Announcer

Aida Porter-Hyatt, Teacher’s Corner Editor

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Junior year brings a new level of competition to Pikesville High. With one last year to boost GPAs, students are more focused on their grades than any other year. Another reason for the new completive air is that students are beginning to take their SATs and ACTs for the first time. These scores, either out of 1600 or 36, depending on whether a student is taking the SAT or ACT respectively, will determine how one is viewed by colleges and their peers for the next year. Standardized tests are extremely one- sided and only appeal to one type of intelligence. Students are left to believe that they are dumb because the types of intelligence that include their strengths are never showcased. There should be other opportunities for students to prove their college-readiness besides these types of tests.

Colleges use these standardized tests along with other factors to determine who will be the best fit at their schools.  Although schools are relying less and less on standardized tests, they are still considered one of the number one factors in determining a student’s admission or denial. Colleges do not take into consideration that there are other important types of intelligence besides one’s ability to take a standardized test, and the same sort of mentality trickles down into high school.

Students are hurt by this overgeneralization in more ways than one. Not only will a student’s chance of getting into college suffer due to their inability to take a standardized test, but their self-confidence may suffer as well. Students see these low scores and assume that they are a sign of stupidity, rather than understanding the illegitimacy of these tests in determining one’s intelligence.

Along with a general weakness in standardized test -taking, learning disabilities can cause students to produce low test scores. Many people with a learning disability are given “time and a half” to compensate. For example, if the normal time allotted was one hour for a given section, a “time and a half” student would have 90 minutes to complete the section. The SAT with extended time is a 5 hour, 3 minute test. Considering that one of the most common disabilities among “time and a half” students is ADHD, this is absolutely ridiculous. It would be hard for anyone to sit and work for this long, much less for someone who suffers from ADHD. The makers of these tests fail to see that adding on minutes to their dreadful exams can in no way compensate for how many students’ brains are simply not wired to take standardized tests.

This specific issue is present not only in standardized tests, but also in the school system in general. If we can put a man on the moon and create a phone that can talk back to you, it seems rather pathetic that the school system maintains such unaccommodating practices for those with different intelligence.

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More Intelligences than One