Symbols and ideologies
DOI link for Symbols and ideologies
Symbols and ideologies book
Tests, it was demonstrated, are powerful instruments; they are being used by those in authority to manipulate educational systems to suit the agendas of those who hold power. Such use of tests, it was argued, has negative conse quences for learning and is unethical and undemocratic. Yet, the dominance of tests is unchallenged, unmonitored and uncontrolled, and they have enor mous trust and support on the part of the public and institutions. Tollefson (1995) identifies three aspects of power: state, discourse and ideology; tests represent all three. State power, in terms of bureaucrats; discourse power, as tests are imposed by unequal individuals (the tester and the test taker); and ideological power, i.e. belief of what is right and what is wrong, what is good knowledge and what is not, what is worthwhile economically and what is not. The ease with which tests have become so accepted and admired by all those who are affected by them is remarkable. How can tests persist in being so powerful, so influential, so domineering and play such enormous roles in our society?