Another concern about standardized testing is coaching. I do not mean coaching by the school but by the testing companies themselves or other independent agencies. Some coaching classes claim they can raise a standardized test score by up to 250 points. They charge between $500-$1200 dollars for their services. Let assume that coaching works (we’ll address that in a minute). If it does work, then we are only widening the achievement gap as only families making a higher income will have the disposable income to spend on these coaches or classes.
The testing companies claim that coaching is not effective. They say that coaching can only increase a test score by 25-30 points at the most. Independent studies dispute this and put the figure much higher. The Federal Trade Commission conducted a study which stated the average gain from coaching is 50 points.
If the testing companies claim that coaching does not work, then why do almost all of them market coaching or study manuals? Either coaching does work, and therefore calls into question the reliablity and validity of the tests, or the testing companies are selling a product to parents and schools they know to be inferior at best or fraudulent at worst. This harkens back to a point made earlier, that testing is a business that exists to make money, not properly asses what a student knows or what the student’s actual ability is.