Need a 250 word response/debate/discussion how this case deals with standardized and IQ testing. and discrimination.
|Hobson v. Hansen (2018) dates back to 1967 when Hobson challenged Hansen, the Superintendent of the schools in the District of Columbia. Even though the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education in Topeka outlawed school segregation, Hobson brought this case because the District was depriving â€œNegro and poor public school children of their right to equal educational opportunity with the District’s white and more affluent public school childrenâ€ (Summary Section). The court agreed. The Justices said that the schools were racially and socially homogenous which damaged â€œthe minds and spirit of all children who attend them … whether the segregation occurs by law or by factâ€ (Summary Section). The effects is that disadvantaged youth of any race are deprived of an equal education and the opportunity for equal scholastic achievement. This, as are all discrimination cases, is very important, especially in places as D.C. was back then, where the public school population is comprised of over 90% blacks due in great measure to white out-migration over the decades to suburbs in Virginia and Maryland (Hobson v. Hansen (2018).
This case pertains to our class because the aptitude tests were standardized for the white middle-class children. The upshot of these tests, which the Court called â€œinappropriateâ€ for all children, is that students were tracked according to their scores. Remember that this case was in 1967. Whatâ€™s interesting here is that Hansen, the Superintendent, actually created the track system, and calls low-scoring students the â€œblue collar student.â€ As I wrote in my reply to Kerry last week, tracking is not equitable when it is determined by the scores of scholastic tests. Thatâ€™s because they are used to segregate students into different levels (Salerno, 2004). This is not test fairness, which posits that test-takers are selected based on having â€œthe same probability of doing well on performanceâ€ as other test-takers (Aiken & Groth-Marnat, 2006, p. 243). Many of these tests did, and still do, have biases based on ethnicity, race and socioeconomic status (SES) (Salerno, 2004). Just carrying the label, â€œblue collar studentâ€ can affect a studentâ€™s thinking that he or she will not and cannot achieve scholastically as any other child can due to the self-fulfilling prophecy. He or she comes to believe what those tests are saying and, even worse, what the school administrators are doing. Thus, even though racial segregation was outlawed in the United States, it still existed in class placement in 1967, and, I posit, still does today, often based on test scores.
This was seen in a 1964-1965 study by the Office of the Surgeon General, Army which showed the over 55% of 18-year-olds from D.C. â€œfailed the Armed Services mental test, a higher percentage than any of the 50 statesâ€ (Hobson v. Hansen, 2018). Nothing seems to have changed because Aiken and Groth-Marnat (2006) states that the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB) used for vocational counseling and job-placement, was unfair for the same reasons mentioned above with standardized testing. It was altered in 1981 to achieve race norming, using separate percentile norms for different races and ethnicities. However, that was seen as reverse discrimination, and 10 years later, this test reverted back, per the Civil Rightrs Act of 1991 (Aiken & Groth-Marnat, 2006).
The problem with disadvantaged students, Hansen said, is that â€œAll too frequently these pupils grow up in an environment which severely retards their educational growth. Unfortunate thousands of them struggle against tremendous odds inadequate family income; inadequate food, clothing and shelter; inadequate supervision, inadequate educational support; and inadequate cultural, recreational, and vocational opportunities. These inadequacies, evidenced by insufficient preparation for entry into the public schools, poor command of the English language, lack of motivation and parental support, result in poor achievement, an increasing lack of interest in the school and its programs and an excessively high number of school dropouts” (Hobson v. Hansen, 2018, Footnote 167). Please excuse this very long direct quote! Here, it seems to be that Hansen is punishing the child for the conditions into which he or she is born, and the Court seems to agree!
Anyways, the Court found in favor of Hobson. The Justices found that the resulting actions from the tests, tracking students, was based on what was believed bak then: the learning abilities of disadvantaged youths is inferior to the white middle class youths. They were, then, placed in lower tracks â€œfor reduced education based on such tests, thus implementing the self-fulfilling prophecy phenomenon inherent in such misjudgmentsâ€ (Hobson v. Hansen, 2018, Summary Section). Furthermore, it was found that the District placed inferior teachers in slum schools and continued racial and economic segregation of pupils. They also provided texts that disadvantaged children could not relate to, in addition to â€œinadequate remedial programs for offsetting initial psychological and social difficulties of the disadvantaged child all have contributed to the increase in crime, particularly juvenile crime. In sum, all of the evidence in this case tends to show that the Washington school system is a monument to the cynicism of the power structure which governs the voteless capital of the greatest country on earthâ€ (Hobson v. Hansen, 2018, Summary Section). Again, please excuse this very long direct quote; I just couldnâ€™t have said it better in a paraphrase! (I am very passionate about equal opportunity and justice, especially in our educational system!)
Aiken and Groth-Marnat (2006) state that the foundations of achievement testing is to see what people have achieved and to assess how effective educational programs are. In Hobsonâ€™s case, and other students like him, these tests actually do that. However, because of their status in American society, the educational programs offered them are far below the standards for those offered to predominantly white middle class students. These tests can also serve to alert administrators about their educational program. However, it seems to me that they are used for and/or against the students, rather than to improve educational programs, especially for students such as Hobson.
The second case I reviewed is Regents of Univ. of California v. Bakke from 1978 (and I hope I understood it correctly). This is interesting in that the University of California brought the suit against a white student who applied for medical school. Basically, the Court ruled for the University, thereby upholding affirmative action in which race could be one factor allowed in college admissions. Bakke had applied twice and was rejected both times based on his age, being in his early 30s (Regents of Univ. of California v. Bakke, 2018). He had also been rejected for this reason by USC, Northwestern and several other schools, since age discrimination was openly practiced in medical schools at that time, but Bakke didnâ€™t bring suit for that reason. He filed suit, claiming that the University of Californiaâ€™s special admissions program for disadvantaged applicants*** was unconstitutional and had worked against him. The California Court sided with him (Regents of Univ. of California v. Bakke, 2018). After an involved back-and-forth court history, the Universityâ€™s case was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and said that affirmative action was not unconstitutional (Regents of Univ. of California v. Bakke, 2018).
As an aside, Bakke was hence admitted to UC Davis Medical School in 1978 and graduated in 1982 at age 42. He became an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. On a doctor-rating site, he received 2.6 out of a possible 5 stars from prior patients (About Dr. Allan P. Bakke, 2018).
***The special admission program is for “economically and/or educationally disadvantaged” applicants, as well as those considered to be in a minority group. That â€œgroupâ€ was viewed as “Blacks,” “Chicanos,” “Asians,” and “American Indians”by the University. Bakke did not qualify for this program and, again, was rejected based on his age at the time.
Relating this case to our course, Bakke had to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), as do all candidates for medical school. He scored quite high, being â€œin the 97th percentile in scientific knowledge, the 96th percentile in verbal ability, the 94th percentile in quantitative analysis, and the 72nd percentile in general knowledge.â€ His overall score was 72, compared to an average of 69 for applicants to UC Davisâ€™ School of Medicine (Regents of Univ. of California v. Bakke, 2018). Thus, while academic/scholastic tests might be discriminatory for disadvantaged students, Bakkeâ€™s score are consistent with the position that tests like the MCAT are not discriminatory for white test-takers. Still, he was rejected due to ageism.
Since both the cases I selected deal with discrimination, racial and age, discussing how they influence the current practice of psychological assessment is challenging. First, a word about the MCAT. This is a standardized, multiple-choice exam. Since 2015, it has primarily been a reasoning-based exam and evaluates natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles, together with â€œproblem solving and critical thinking skills that are required in medical schoolâ€ (What is the MCAT?, 2018). Some schools used only the scores, while others use the percentile one places within. As of 2015, the test took 3 hours 20 minutes to complete, but today, additional sections and questions have been added, so that it takes over 6 hours. As with many tests, it began as a paper test but now is computerized. Today, together with testing what the test-taker knows, it also looks at how he or she can apply that knowledge to reason (What is the MCAT?, 2018).
As weâ€™ve discussed in the past month, standardized tests can be discriminatory towards anyone who is not white and middle-class or in a higher SES. Since these two cases deal with testing for educational purposes, assessment may not be made on an individual basis. Thus, the â€œplaying fieldâ€ is unequal for those who have not have educational opportunities based on their race, ethnicity, or SES. Itâ€™s nice to know in the Hobson case that this situation was rectified. As for the University of California case, since it involves affirmative action and reverse discrimination in medical school acceptance, I donâ€™t think the MCAT in Bakkeâ€™s situation applies to discrimination. However, â€œthe Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination based on age in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistanceâ€ (Age Discrimination in Education, 2018).*** Since the University of California does received federal funding, so you think they discriminated against Bakke because he was 33 when he applied to medical school?
In sum, the major influence of these cases is that psychologists need to be careful in their assessment of individuals and view the test-taker as a whole person with life experiences that may be not reflected in the tests. Furthermore, schools need to find additional ways with which to assess students, whether it be for admissions or grade-level placement. Maybe we need to reassess the purposes for which these tests are used and how the results can impact an personâ€™s entire life, especially in a negative manner. Thanks for any other thoughts. Renee
*** The U.S. Department of Education gives financial assistance to schools and colleges, so most schools and colleges are subject to the Age Discrimination in Education Act when it comes to allegations of age discrimination. The Age Discrimination regulation is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) (Age Discrimination in Education, 2018).
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