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Sat A Test Of Inequality

1247 words - 5 pages

Every year, over two million U.S. high school students will take the "SAT 1 Reasoning Test", also known as SAT. It is a three hours test designed to determine the chance of academic success in college for a high school student. How well they do will play a big part in determining whether or not they'll get into college, and whether they'll make it into an elite university. Anyone who has sweated through the SAT, had their stomach twisted into knots by worry that one's whole life hinges on a bunch of multiple choice questions, will be glad to hear that President of University of California, Richard Atkinson, had called for ending the use of the SAT for UC admissionsThe SAT is this nation's oldest, most widely used and misused college entrance exam. The SAT I Reasoning test is composed of two sections, Verbal and Math, each scored on a 200-800 point scale. Out of 138 questions given, majority of them were multiple choices. By design, the test is "speeded", which means many test takers weren't able to finish all the questions. The SAT is used for just one purpose, which is predicting first year college student's grades. Kohn is the author of several books on human behavior and education, who has pointed out that the SAT doesn't predict student's future very well. A considerable amount of research shows that more than 600 studies published by the College Board in 1984, has found that SAT scores could explain only 12 to 16 percent of the freshman grades. The graduation rates predicted by SAT I resulted to be a poorly estimated number (509).Recently, the SAT suffered a body blow when the President, Richard Atkinson, of the University of California system proposed dumping the exam. Atkinson legitimized open discussion of a heretofore-taboo subject for large and selective Universities, whether they (and society) would be better off without the test. Atkinson, like others who criticize the SAT, seems to believe that it measures inborn aptitude. Aptitude is usually taken to mean innate ability, or the ability you have from birth. So there is nothing we can do about it, getting tested on unrelated topics than what we study in our classes. In Atkinson's view, the SAT measures promise, not accomplishment. Atkinson's questions about the SAT were sparked, in part, by visiting a private school and finding 12-year-olds students. The students were studying for the SAT, which they will not be taking for another five or six years! He said, "I learned that they spend hours each month directly and indirectly preparing for the SAT, studying long lists of verbal analogies such as `untruthful is to mendaciousness' as `circumspect is to caution'. The time involved was not aimed at developing the students' reading and writing abilities but rather their test-taking skills. What I saw was disturbing" (Atkinson 507).SAT also will be a disadvantage to students whose first language is not English. Peter Sacks is an author, essayist and social critic. He explained that African...

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