Testing Abuse and Human Rights in Mexico

K-12 Testing

The continuing efforts to stop the use of tests to determine which senior high school a Mexico City student may enter took a new turn when the municipal Human Rights Commission determined that this practice violates human rights and the Mexican constitution. At the commission's request, the city government has asked the federal government, which sponsors the tests, to discuss alternatives to admissions testing and to include test opponents in the talks. National officials have not yet responded.


Parents, students and educators have been protesting the tests since 1996, sponsoring marches of up to 4000 people and shutting down the Mexican stock exchange (see Examiner, Summer 1999, Fall 1996). A major issue has been assigning tens of thousands of students, based solely on their test scores, to schools they do not want to attend, and prohibiting thousands of others from even entering higher secondary programs.


Parents, students and educators presented data documenting violations of the students' constitutional and legal rights to education, including evidence that:


- 62 per cent of students excluded from further education were women;
- lower-income youngsters were systematically assigned to schools which offered no further educational future, and
- assignment to unwanted schools was forcing students to drop out (the dropout rate rose from 17 to 25 percent per year after the testing/assignment initiative began).
- Thanks to Professor - Hugo Aboites, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana -Xochimilco, Mexico City