The IQ Tests Hijacked by the Middle Class ; an Intelligence Test for Entry to Britain's Universities Has Been Proposed. but in America, Where Such Tests Are Routinely Used, There Are Fears That, Far from Being Blind to Race and Social Class, These Tests Put Students on Unequal Ground
Martin, Eleanor, The Independent (London, England)
One proposal aimed at levelling the playing field for entry to Britain's universities is to introduce a scholastic aptitude test - a kind of super IQ test taken during the A-level years. It is designed to spot raw, rather than coached intelligence, and is routinely used in America. But does the SAT work? One 17-year-old American high school student, who agonised about the ethics of getting extra coaching for her tests, has her doubts.
I understand that England is considering implementing a nationwide achievement test to help universities determine admissions eligibility. In America we have such a test, the Scholastic Aptitude Tests, or SATs. This is a three-hour standardised test that a student can take anywhere from one to three times. The test is solely multiple choice and measures verbal and math skills and abilities.
Over the course of my junior year in high school I learned that, as the deadline for college application creeps closer and closer, the SATs become more and more of a focus for students. Friends who are usually very laid back transform into obsessives; comparing verbal and math scores with everyone they can find, frantically hiring tutors and buying books that promise to improve their scores.
Admittedly, the SATs are very daunting. This single test, this three hours out of the thousands that you spend in high school, plays an unbelievably large role in determining what your options are for college. If your scores are too low, there are schools that will not even consider you. If they are high enough you will be offered scholarships and have the chance to attend a prestigious school.
With so much riding on the SATs, one would hope that they would live up to their original goal of being a test that measures academic skills and is blind to race and social class. However, this is not the case. The fact is, some people test exceptionally well and some test poorly. This puts otherwise equally able students on unequal ground from the beginning.
The SATs are meant to test students only on their verbal and mathematical skills, but they end up also measuring students test- taking abilities. And, obviously, those students who attend high schools that do a particularly good job of preparing their students for the SATs are more likely to score highly than those who do not. These advantages and disadvantages among students are close to inevitable.
But the inequalities do not end there. There are also the tutors, classes and books that have recently sprung up, promising to improve SAT scores. Every year more and more students pay to use these resources in the hope of bumping their score up one hundred points or so.
These classes do not seek to …
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Publication information: Article title: The IQ Tests Hijacked by the Middle Class ; an Intelligence Test for Entry to Britain's Universities Has Been Proposed. but in America, Where Such Tests Are Routinely Used, There Are Fears That, Far from Being Blind to Race and Social Class, These Tests Put Students on Unequal Ground. Contributors: Martin, Eleanor - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: July 13, 2000. Page number: 6. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.