We all hear about the word “standardization” in our daily life. Everything tends to be in a “standard” way more than before. Supermarkets, roadways, this writing, and its structure… We are following certain kinds of standards without even realizing it. Do we ever think about who put these standards and why these are necessary?
Standardization practices came to our lives with the industrial revolution and thanks to Darwinism. The industrial revolution brings ideas about civilization. Therefore, societies need to be productive, mentally, and physically healthy, and briefly “civilized” to keep in step with the “modern” word. In his 1871 book The Descent of Man, Darwin discussed species and categorized some races as more “civilized” and advanced compared to other groups. He made this categorization from the evolutionary perspective and stated that: “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races
of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage
races” (Darwin, 1871, p. 201).
What all this historical process tell us and why we need to know about it?
With this notion of more “civilized” societies, standardized tests such as intelligence and ability tests came up to categorize students to serve the “proper” education. Especially in these days, almost every parent wants their children to take these standardized tests to see whether their children are smart and creative enough to be in a race with other children. These standardized tests are so important for them and it means superiority for them to have children with the label as “smart”, “intelligence” and “intellectual” by proving with some tests.
These tests were developed to create more “civilized” societies in the first place. Therefore, standardized tests help to specify people who are superior evolutionary so the “savage races” can be replaced. As a result, some students do not be accepted to certain schools or classrooms because of these standardized tests. Some people cannot be accepted for certain jobs as well. These standardized tests just create and sustain the inequalities inside society while indicating the superiority of certain groups. Thus, most of the famous standardized tests such as Standford- Binet, Rorschach, and Weschler created to exclude certain groups from educational activities and provide these limited resources to a group that has more evolutionary superior.
These tests were created by white-male-western scientists to prove White supremacy and create racial purity from the beginning. Afterward, it is realized that the results of these standardized tests are not about the intelligence and/ or the physical performance of the people, but all about the differences in the language, values, and cultural experiences of the people who have a different cultural background. Thus, the results are not about the intellectual inferiority or superiority but about the poor performance as a result of the problematic inequality of the standardized tests.
That’s how these standardized tests started to be revised and culturally- sensitive practices started to be born. When we face the “standardized” things, we need to think about these questions:
- Who or what is the standard?
- Can we state certain standards for all people?
- If not, who is considered while setting these standards?
- What about “others” that were not included in these “standards”?
Be mindful, be sensitive!
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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