The ideology of the SAT

February 9, 2010

I mentioned in my sermon Sunday that when I took the SAT many years ago, we were discouraged from studying for it because, we were told, the SAT doesn’t measure knowledge; it measures aptitude. What is a student’s built-in capacity for learning?

We know better now, and I’m sure the SAT has changed a great deal since then. Still, here’s a fascinating New Yorker article published in 2001 on the history of the test and the man who inadvertently exposed its mistaken assumptions and ideology. Interesting fact: According to the author of the article, the first aptitude tests were developed early in the 20th century to keep Jews out of Harvard.


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