The SATS were literally invented by a eugenicist to uphold white supremacy

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Maybe this fact will accelerate the trend of moving away from standardized tests in education… One can hope.


The SATs have always been a function of general wealth and resources brought to bear to prepare for them. The wealthier a town, the higher the average SAT scores within it.

It demonstrates a continuing need for affirmative action. A score which is middling among peers in a wealthy school district represents achievement among those in a poor one. The one who is exceptional compared to one’s peers is the one more worthy of admission.


Believe it or not, I used to enjoy taking those various standardized test when I was a kid, we had them often all through grade school.

The fact that I enjoyed taking them meant I had an advantage over kids who didn’t enjoy taking them-- the pressure was off for me-- but that meant someone who was every bit as smart but hated the tests was at a disadvantage.

I’d say the fact that the test disproved his theories is as good a reason as any to keep using them, but they should lose a lot of their importance in college admittance.


In my high school, if there was a state standardized test on the subject, that would determine the final grade. I usually was able to study for those tests much more easily than put up with the class itself.

I was a C+ student in Physics, at best but scored a 90 percentile on the state test, so I ended up with an A- in the class.


Except such metrics continue to hamper equity in education, along racial and class lines. :woman_shrugging: Standardized tests are a failure specifically because they were built to keep up the racial and social caste system.

It is well beyond time to figure out new strategies to educate people.


The endowments of colleges and universities in the U.S. collectively hold trillions of dollars in assets. This money is primarily invested in large corporations funneling profits of tax-deductible gifts to Wall st. Despite desperately needing increased investment in public schools we donate trillions to already wealthy schools without anyone so much as raising the idea that the money should actually be invested in education rather than dumped into investment accounts that primarily help the financial industry.
These supposed bastions of liberalism are collectively huge contributors to the wealth disparities and associated problems of this country


Of course, the move to subjective measures like character and leadership qualities in the mid 20th century was also racist: it was a deliberate attempt to reduce the acceptance rate for Jews:

I’ve been on committees trying to improve admissions processes; it is practically impossible because most obvious criteria are tainted.

As hard as the admissions office’s job is today, next year it will be harder, since thanks to Covid-19 they might also lose the ability to use high school grades. While it hasn’t been possible for many years to reasonably compare the grades earned at one school with grades earned at another, you could at least compare students within a school; in fact, one of the best predictors of college-level success is graduating in the top 10% of your high school’s class. Some state universities have a policy guaranteed admission to students in this group. How do you find them if everyone is just getting “CR”?

(Something similar is happening in Europe; there is a row in the UK over elite uni admissions for students who couldn’t take the school exams, and Norway is suing the International Baccalaureate Organization for their decision to adjust the degree level for students based on how their region’s students have done in the past.)


That’s right. Thanks for the link to the book. When the elite schools tried admitting based on test scores, the schools flooded with the children of aspirational immigrants, which was Jews then, just as it is Indians and Chinese now. That was unacceptable to the schools in the 20s, so they moved to the “whole person” model. That way, the interviewer could note the parent’s accent or kinky hair.

This is the legal wrangle going on in California now, where the POCs who are benefiting from the current paradigm (I think the plaintiffs are of Chinese background) are opposing the return of race-conscious admissions.


In short, grades were seen as an inadequate measure of racial purity. White people would get good grades based on their natural superiority, but other races (specifically Jews) could overcome their “racial deficiencies” and get good grades by working extra hard instead. This seemed like cheating to eugenicists, so standardized tests were added to college admissions to better measure “innate ability” and tip the scales back in the white man’s favor.


I rather enjoy being living proof that his mission FAILED.

Also, I kicked ass on my SAT and ACT.


The fact that the SAT’s inventor admits it’s not a reliable test of whiteness and a prosperous upbringing shows that no harm has been done! /s


Interesting phrasing there. It’s almost like he’s acknowledging the rape of enslaved Africans by their white captors. I usually see that reversed, as if the ancestors of enslaved people are deviously trying to corrupt the white gene pool. Not that he seems to have had any sense of perspective or empathy.


I think you missed why it can’t be the other way. Once there is a mixing of blood the person is by definition no longer “white.” Therefore it is a logical impossibility to have “Negro blood infilitrate white.” Its part of the whole “one drop” aspect of this country’s genocidal self-destruction


Brigham also had a hand in other intelligence testing before his foray into the SATs. He built on the work of this asshole named Robert Yerkes.

Yerkes, who was president of the American Psychological Association at the time, gathered some of his eugenicists pals. Together, they adapted a French test that was meant to identify people with developmental disabilities so that they could receive extra help in school.

So, obviously Yerkes created an American version of the test that identified low scores as either idiots (non-verbal), imbeciles (illiterate) or morons (the high functioning). Eugenicists were scared of morons, since they could blend in with the normies.

This was WWI times, so he pitched this test to the US Army so they could identify morons to use as cannon fodder. The Army had no use for this test, presumably because most soldiers scored in the cannon fodders range.

But Brigham saw potential, while in denials about the shortcoming, and adapted the Army’s Alpha Test for use as a college entrance exam at Princeton, then later the college board tasked him with creating the SATs.

Then, like most eugenicist science, it was fully weaponized by the 1950s once most people forgot its truly racist origins.


Likewise, but I also have been convinced for many years that the bubble tests only test your ability to take bubble tests. This ability does not really generalize into anything other than more bubble tests. A lot of that revolves around pattern recognition, which is a very great strength for me, whereas memorization is not. I saw too many peers in med school who would have been great docs founder on the reefs of standardized tests. It can be argued that the actual questions could be altered to correct racial biases, but the format just does not lend itself to any actual useful information gathering on your abilities or potentials. ((Opinions expressed are my own, I have to sources to cite on this one!)


Yeah, I think that’s the case.


It took Robert McNamara to put that one into practice.


Absolutely, I agree. As a kid, I was both a voracious reader and quite adept at recognizing patterns - two traits that are a huge part of why I did so well on standardized tests.

I take a perverse pride in excelling in an area that was specifically designed for folks like me to fail.


They still have the ASVAB (my anecdote)…