Changing the SAT for 'Social Justice'

Question: What test was created to eliminate the advantages that wealthy families used to influence and advance their children’s educational cause?

Answer: The Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT): a test created to end the discrimination and aristocracy in college admissions. It leveled the playing field by relying on an empirical test score that was valid, aligned with college success, and incapable of determining color, race, or socio-economic condition.

Problem: According to Zachary Goldfarb in the Washington Post, the College Board is overhauling the SAT to “level the playing field” for high school students from a wider range of families. Wait a minute: the SAT was created to “level the playing field” because a test by its very un-human nature does not have feelings, attitudes, or stereotypes.

When a university bases admission on test results, it does not matter if the person who scores brilliantly is poor, victimized, immigrant, disadvantaged, or from a low socio-economic group. A high score gains them entrance into a top-tier university, as it should. In fact, whether they were black, Hispanic, female, gay, lesbian, transsexual, or transgendered, success on a valid and reliable achievement test secures the brass ring of college opportunity.

So it is astonishing that when the results of the level playing field the SAT created are not what some people like, those same people have the audacity to say the test must be changed to offer greater advantages to certain underrepresented groups of their choosing?

In case you missed the bigotry here: the SAT folks, or forces the SAT has bowed to, want to go back to the old discriminatory way of gaining entrance into college. They just don’t have the guts to be open about their bigotry so they’ve hatched a plan to do it covertly. Obviously, affirmative action has not been enough to create their utopian prison.

The Plan: Keep using the SAT testing system but change the test to get the discriminatory results they believe achieve “social justice,” a euphemism for progressive/liberal power and ideology. That way you fool the public by using the SAT’s good name and reputation but bias the test against academic excellence and college readiness.

Let’s be candid here; to end inequality of results based on misperceived injustice and discrimination, some want to change the SAT so they can use discrimination and inequitable practices. That’s just stunning hypocrisy and hubris.

College Board President and Common Core Tsar David Coleman is the driving force behind the movement. Coleman has singlehandedly decided to change American education to mirror his progressive vision of social justice. Ask yourself if his words could not be more elusive, vague, or concerning.

Coleman said: “While we build on the best of the past, we commit today that the redesigned SAT will be more focused and useful, more clear and open, than ever before.” The revised reading exam will drop the most obscure vocabulary words and instead “focus on words students will use over and over again.” The math problems will be less theoretical and more linked to real-life questions. And although test sponsors long have argued that coaching does not help students significantly raise their scores, Coleman acknowledged that many people believe tutoring does lend an advantage, worsening the sense of “inequality and injustice” surrounding the SAT. Lastly, the new SAT will be more populist and more in line with the new federal Common Core teaching standards.

Using data to mislead: Goldfarb says: “The data shows that wealthier Americans, from more educated families, tend to do far better on the test. As do white and Asian Americans, and those students who had the opportunity to take the PSAT in high school before taking the SAT. Almost certainly, these four findings have common origins in that the SAT benefits families who can provide their kids with a better education and more test prep.”

What a distorted way to view the SAT! Is it possible it’s the other way around? Kids from wealthier, more educated families who stress taking the PSAT do better on the SAT exactly because they come from a culture that promotes hard work, education, and preparation.

There is nothing in the SAT, our education system, or our society that prohibits hard work, preparation and learning. And did anyone think that maybe intact families who are wealth creators live by a set of cultural values and principles that are aligned with greater achievement in school?

Goldfarb says the test data “dispels the notion that students in America have good opportunities to advance regardless of the family they're born to.” In actuality, it shows that in America the rewards of hard work, education, and family pay off in long term ways by building on effective cultural behaviors that are, by the way, available to all people since free will is universal.

And as far as the attempt to say race plays a role in achievement, or who is admitted to college, citing Asians earning the highest SAT scores all but makes the point pointless. When Asians, the most disadvantaged group in America based on language, culture, and time have shown that opportunity and hard work pays off in the academic race, the “race, class, and victimhood hustlers” just get schooled.

According to Thomas Sowell: “In 2001, for example, there were more than 16,000 Asian American students who scored above 700 on the mathematics SAT, while fewer than 700 black students scored that high -- even though blacks outnumbered Asian Americans several times over. This cannot be explained away by poverty, racism, or innate inferiority.”

Lastly, saying that the opportunity for test prep and taking the PSAT offers an unfair advantage is more propaganda. When did a focus on education and preparation for the future become unfair? All students are given the PSAT for free during their sophomore year in high school. And although some families may choose to pay for mostly snake oil “test prep;” a book, time, and some focus does far more.

Learning and achievement has everything to do with the brain, not the wallet. Taking the test several times only changes the grade by 100 or so points, far from the advantage being ginned up; and admission officials take these variables into consideration.

Bottom line: Let’s be honest and understand how the universe operates. Schools are not all the same and they never will be. Parents are not all the same and they never will be. Environments are not all the same and they never will be. And kids will never be identical in talents, principles, values, and countless other variables. That’s the systemic dynamic called DNA and life.

There is little wonder why some score lower than they would like on the SAT. Many are the same people who don’t have the discipline, focus, and determination for high levels of academic achievement.

If you demand equal outcomes and see differentiation in results as always the result of an external “boogieman.” And when you go out and intentionally manipulate a test that was specifically created to end abhorrent discrimination in college admissions of the past. And when you then advocate covertly for discrimination so as to excuse personal decisions of the present; then you are a disgusting example of bigotry and intolerance.

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