Alphabet Soup

I couldn’t see how anyone could be educated by this self-propagating system in which people pass exams, and teach others to pass exams, but nobody knows anything.

Richard Feynman

Standardized testing is a necessary evil. Wikipedia2 defines a necessary evil as “an evil that someone believes must be done or accepted because it is necessary to achieve a better outcome—especially because possible alternative courses of action or inaction are expected to be worse. It is the “lesser evil” in the lesser of two evils principle, which maintains that given two bad choices, the one that is least bad is the better choice.”

This leads us to our alphabet soup of standardized testing: ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, AAT, JEE, and ICSE to name a few. In my scholastic endeavors I have taken the ACT, SAT and GMAT. These tests were necessary (“a necessary evil”) for me to obtain my bachelor and master of science degrees. In their defense, the ACT and SAT uncovered a deficiency in my writing skills, and I was required to take a remedial writing course my freshman year of college. I greatly benefited from that course. The question then arises why did my high school not recognize this deficiency and provide the necessary instruction I needed to improve my writing skills? The answer to that question, in my opinion, is that I my teacher graded me such that I met the state or school district’s standards for writing, whatever they were. Also, it may be that rather than hold back those who need to repeat a grade or a class, the school systems graduate students saying they have met the minimum educational requirements. This is not fair to the students.

The educational system in this country, and perhaps others, is structured not to benefit the student but industry.3 4 5 6 7 You may say this sounds like a conspiracy theory, but in my opinion it is not. Industry (e.g., the oil, steel and rubber industry early in the last century) found out that they needed people who could read, write and perform arithmetic, and not just uneducated manual laborers. Today, because of computer automation, a laborer may need more than reading, writing and arithmetic, they need computer skills. The question arises if the schools today are educating “standardized” students or preparing them for life after school?

The alphabet soup of the educational system today answers that question. Right now, it is the best we have.


1 “For WREN Readers – WY Quality Counts (Alphabet Soup image)”. 2022. WY Quality Counts.

2 “Necessary Evil – Wikipedia”. 2022.

3 “Rockefeller Domination Of Education | Article”. 2022. Rockefeller Domination Of Education | Article.

4 “The Origin Of Compulsory Schooling | Article”. 2022. The Origin Of Compulsory Schooling | Article.

5 “A Nation Of Workers: How Public Education Is Dummying Down Our Labor Force”. 2016.

6 “Shocking Origins Of Public Education – Gatto”. 2022.

7 “Big Education – The Pyramid Of Power”. 2022.

Additional Reading

Gaille, Louise. 2019. “16 Biggest Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing”. Vittana.Org.

“Standardized Tests – Pros & Cons –”. 2022. Standardized Tests.

Tyack, David and William Tobin. ‘The “Grammar” of Schooling: Why Has It Been So Hard to Change?’ American Educational Research Journal, Autumn 1994, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Autumn, 1994), pp. 453-479.

“What You Need To Know About Standardized Testing”. 2022. Thoughtco.


Do Standardized Tests Do More Harm Than Good?

Do standardized test help or harm students? And is the US actually over testing students when compared with other nations? In this episode of Origin of Everything, we ask the big question about why do some American students take an average 112 standardized tests between Kindergarten & Grade 12?

Dr. Michio Kaku: The Problem with the learning system in school.
Standardized Testing: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Standardized testing is examined and analyzed through its pros and cons. Standardized testing has its place in education, and that cannot be argued. However, along with the good of standardized testing, comes many negative effects. There is not doubt that standardized testing is a necessary component to improving education and closing the achievement gap for all students. But the main question posed its what is the overall cost of standardized testing on the students. In this video, the debate for standardized testing continues, and both sides are taken into account for the perspective of school teachers, administrators, social workers, parents, teacher aid or paraprofessionals and educators everywhere. Standardized tests of today, such as the PARCC assessment, have also stirred much controversy. In particular, parents of special education students have voiced their opinion on this topic. So this video is created to give everyone a bit of an idea on some of the good things, the bad things, and the ugly things, of standardized testing.

What standardized tests don’t measure | Nikki Adeli | TEDxPhiladelphia

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Alarmingly, 44% of American students in grades 6-12 do not feel a sense of self-worth at school. Philadelphia high school junior Nikki Adeli knows firsthand the challenges that young people face navigating standardized tests. Through the story of her own real-world educational experiences beginning in Mississippi by way of Iran, Nikki reminds us all that the value and purpose of schools is to grow a citizen not produce a good test-taker. High school student and public education advocate Nikki Adeli is an active citizen. As a Youth Commissioner to Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Nikki represents the city’s youth in public hearing and gives testimony that reflects the youth perspective. She works with the City, non-profits, community organizations and private entities to develop strategies to improve educational opportunities for Philadelphia’s youth.

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