Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Counterbalance Assessment: The Chorizo Test; Just like All the High-Stakes Tests That Determine Students' Futures Nowadays, the Chorizo Test Is a Standardized Test Rooted in the Culture of the Test-Makers. Try Taking the Test to Find out How Much of a Baboso You Can Feel like When That Culture Isn't Yours

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Counterbalance Assessment: The Chorizo Test; Just like All the High-Stakes Tests That Determine Students' Futures Nowadays, the Chorizo Test Is a Standardized Test Rooted in the Culture of the Test-Makers. Try Taking the Test to Find out How Much of a Baboso You Can Feel like When That Culture Isn't Yours

Article excerpt

SINCE THE days of the reform movements of the 1980s and 1990s, standardized testing has increased greatly in the public schools. The problem has become particularly acute in the wake of the testing mandated for accountability under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. States simply can't afford to jeopardize their federal funding.

The limitations of high-stakes, standardized, paper-and- pencil assessments have been documented extensively in the literature. (1) Cultural bias is one of the long-standing limitations of these tests. Because they are created by and for white middle-class populations, they typically reflect the dominant, white middle-class culture. However, this cultural hegemony has not gone unnoticed, and some interesting responses have emerged.

Many years ago, Adrian Dove, a black sociologist, created The Dove Counterbalance Intelligence Test as a means of demonstrating the folly of evaluating black children with tests that reflect white middle-class values and language. (2) During the 1950s and 1960s, such group intelligence tests were often used to classify children of color as "culturally deprived" or even "mentally retarded."

It seemed fitting to us, 40 years after the creation of The Dove Counterbalance Intelligence Test (1967) and its short form, The Chitling Test (1968), to develop a new instrument, The Chorizo Test, which addresses the continuing discriminatory practices against the new largest ethnic minority group, Hispanics. Even the descriptor, Hispanic, is itself a biased, colonialist term used by the federal government as an identifier. According to the Census Bureau, in 2005 so-called Hispanics made up 14.5% of the U.S. population and were the fastest-growing ethnic group in the nation. In addition, 63.8% of U.S. Hispanics self-identified as Mexican/Chicano in government surveys. (3)

The Chorizo Test was originally created to be used with students in teacher training programs to sensitize them to the pitfalls inherent in standardized pencil-and-paper tests, such as linguistic bias and cultural stereotyping. …

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