This reliance on test scores as a measure of achievement gives rise to hierarchical academic culture. This hierarchical culture is birthed by the public display and celebration of test scores. Those growing up in age of No Child Left Behind can attest to the incessant accolades and celebrations that come along once test results are released. In primary school I remember having to sit through countless long-winded assemblies where a select group of students received paper certificate for their achievement in math, science, language arts, or social science. As a student that was usually recognized for scoring high on the state test, I found this praise extremely validating. I had cultivated an identity in my ability to test well and derived a lot of self-confidence from that identity. After the celebration the students that received certificates (some receiving certificates for multiple subjects) would gather and show each other. As these students left the general population to celebrate their achievements together, another group began to form from the absence of the top-scorers—the group of students who didn’t receive a single award. This hierarchical culture, defining students as either “top scorers” or “un-awarded outsiders” doesn’t simply apply to the days of primary school. This is a culture that follows students into middle school and high school where these celebratory assemblies are replaced by top 10 list displayed for the entire class to see. And yet the sentiments of exclusion remain the same—some students must cope with the reality of never making such a list. The use of test scores as a measure of success ultimately supports the notion that a student’s ability can be ...
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... at the bottom of the primary school rank distribution has detrimental effects on later test scores for both genders”. Here, Murphy finds that students at the bottom of the ranks occupy the lower end of the achievement gap for an extended period of time. In other words, students that do not test well and are grouped with others who do not test well, will continue to test poorly for a substantial amount of time. This system of grouping by ability, though envisioned to ensure the academic growth and progress of students, does the exact opposite when students are tracked into low-ability groups, Thus, Murphy affirms that tracking has adverse effect on the academic achievement. The findings of Brewer and Murphy reveal that our current system of testing, intended to bring about unity across school districts, in reality, further increases the inequality amongst students.
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