Canceling The College Board Tests Is Wrong And Racist

Canceling The College Board Tests Is Wrong And Racist

Canceling The College Board Tests Is Wrong And Racist

Many schools are dropping the requirement for either the ACT or SAT College Board tests. Those schools claim that the tests are not a good indicator of college readiness. Many social justice warriors claim that the tests are racist. The schools and warriors are wrong. They are wrong to the detriment of every student.

The Washington Post reported that, this year, a record number of schools are no longer requiring the college board tests as a precondition to acceptance. From the article:

Research has consistently shown that ACT and SAT scores are strongly linked to family income, mother’s education level and race. The College Board and ACT Inc., which owns the ACT, say their tests are predictive of college success, but (as with many education issues) there is also research showing otherwise.

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, a nonprofit known as FairTest, just analyzed SAT scores for the high school class of 2019. It reported that the gaps between demographic groups grew larger from a year earlier, with the average scores of students from historically disenfranchised groups falling further behind students from more privileged families.

First, let us stipulate, again, that college is not for everyone. We are desperate for skilled trades here in the United States and most of those jobs pay very well. There is no need to go deep into debt, and these jobs do not preclude anyone from furthering their education. Working in skilled trades does not mean ignorant or uneducated. My Marine father went into a skilled trade, once he was inactive. He was a prolific reader. He was also a member of a coal mining family from Hazard, Kentucky, deep in Appalachia. Not exactly a hot-bed of education, right?

For those who are college bound, why take the ACT/SAT?

The claim that the college board tests are not a good indicator of college readiness is valid. The tests are but one tool. A standardized test is necessary because grade inflation has been rampant in the United States for decades. Grade inflation is a sin against everyone involved in this process: the parents, the child, the higher education facilities, and potential employers. So, the standardized tests are the only measurement that can test for equality of knowledge. The College Board Organization has recognized this and partnered with Khan Academy to offer free programs for anyone to fill in his/her knowledge gaps.

Money is, therefore, not a barrier to entry.

As to the claim of racism, while many social justice warriors make this claim, Teen Vogue had an interesting article on the racist history of the Scholastic Aptitude (now, Assessment) Test:

In 1923, Carl Brigham, one of the men who developed these intelligence tests, published A Study of American Intelligence. In it, he used data gathered from these IQ tests to argue the following: “The decline of American intelligence will be more rapid than the decline of the intelligence of European national groups, owing to the presence here of the negro. These are the plain, if somewhat ugly, facts that our study shows. The deterioration of American intelligence is not inevitable, however, if public action can be aroused to prevent it.”

Carl Brigham sounds as though he was a stunningly racist person. Does that mean that the 21st century version of the college board tests are racist? No. We, as a country, are far more multi-culti now, than we were in the 20th century. The issue is not black and white. It has many shades of brown. Many of the students taking standardized test were not born in the United States.

And, fortunately, the college board tests decided to skip the “adversity score”.

What factors allow students to do well on the college boards?

Whatever the race, color or nation of origin of a student, there are factors that will doom a student to fail. An under-educated, teen-age mother will hinder success. A fatherless home will certainly hinder a student. A family that doesn’t stress the value of a classic education will hinder. Worst of all, an ideologically driven curriculum that preaches climate change as a religion, trains children in gender identity issues at age six, and doesn’t teach real math, science and history will completely doom a student to failure.

Colleges boast the academic records of the freshman classes every year. Then, these same colleges place students from these classes in remedial program because the students don’t have the knowledge base.

I find those who scream that the tests are racist to be the most racist. If these students are in failing schools that have not presented the information, the fault is not with the child, no matter her race. The fault is with the schools and teachers’ unions.

Blaming the tests is very lazy. The ACT/SAT are just measuring sticks. There are many measuring sticks that schools can use. This includes extracurricular activities. That will tell you so much about a student’s intellectual curiosity and scholastic aptitude.

The test is the messenger. Don’t kill the messenger.

Photo Credit: Altman//Pixabay License

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  • Anchovy says:

    While the PC Nazis hold sway, we will never be able to suggest, let alone, investigate the possibility that the racial achievement gap is caused by anything other than racism. Shame too, because if you are trying to solve a problem using the incorrect premise, you are doomed to failure and you have doomed many others to failure.

  • SB says:

    Let’s face it. The main purpose behind this effort is so admissions departments can discriminate more readily against students of Asian descent, who consistently score the highest on standardized tests.

  • Kevin says:

    There does need to be some sort of “screening” tool for entry into higher education. There are subjects that cross racial/ethnic/socioeconomic lines … science, math, language (English comprehension given that instruction will be given in English) and there are probably other subjects as well. Remove subjects that are specific to a specific society/culture so that the tool isn’t weighed in favor of those that had access to the benefits of growing up in a majority population. Having worked in higher education for 15 years (I know I’ve now mentioned twice my employment history … I spent 15 years in higher education … student services … and 15 years in non-profit social services … alcohol and drug services, homeless services) it was a heavy struggle and burden not only to the institution but to the individual attending who was not adequately prepared to participate in higher education. If someone isn’t prepared academically, then there are many many educational opportunities to better prepare them for future entry into higher education so that a college degree is not out of reach just because you grew up with a poorly performing school system or in poverty where academia was not a high priority. Education (whether that be training to be a welder or a brain surgeon) is the way to break the cycle of poverty.

    • Scott says:

      Well said Toni and Kevin. Allowing someone to “jump into the deep end” when they’re not ready to swim does them no favors.

      • Kevin says:

        And when they’re not ready, they end up failing and leave and then the nightmare begins … paying back any money taken out in loans. I’ve seen it with homeless individuals in my programs when they took out loans to attend college, left school, and then didn’t make the payments and were caught up in collections and debt. It’s a vicious cycle.

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