Thursday, October 9, 2014

SAT: Student Affluence Test?

Sure, we like to brag about how smart we are and have SAT scores to back it up. Not so fast. Those scores, in general, are also a reflection of how wealthy our parents are. 

The Wall Street Journal has an article, "SAT and Income Inequality: How Wealthier Kids Rank Higher." The article was statistically interesting but not all that enlightening. Of course money is used to make our lives better, which includes better schools and homes for children so they can continue the same cycle. It’s not news that a free enterprise system rewards the rich—even in the area of SAT scores. 

What I did find enlightening were the comments to the article. They are insane! The WSJ writer was vilified for being ignorant, having a politically correct agenda, trying to dumb down education, and, in general, writing an un-American "ridiculous article." 

“IQ is at least 50% inheritable.”
(I’ll make allowances for the unreferenced stat, but IQ is a test just like SAT.)

“The concept of income inequality, it self (sic) is a fake issue. Are you saying if the income was equal you would have an equal SAT score?”
(Well, yes! If income was equal it would not affect SAT scores!)

“All this article shows me is that poor people give less of a sht (sic) about the value that education provides, and are therefore less likely to pursue every avenue possible to maximize that value and demand excellence from their offspring. Pure and simple.”
(Pure and simple, that’s the problem all right. Of course “every avenue possible” may be limited.)

Finally I found a comment by an intelligent person:

“I came from a family who did not graduate from high school. Their vocabulary was poor and they could not help me with my homework. I lived 10 miles out of town and if there had been tutoring I had no transportation to get there. My verbal score on the SAT while above average was not near the top. It was same for the math. I did much better on the ACT being in the upper percentile. I graduated from Cornell University. If Cornell had gone by my SAT scores instead of my ACT scores I would have never gotten in.”
(And this, in my mind, is what the article was all about. Colleges must recognize the wealthy bias in the SAT and correct it when admitting students. This is also pointed out by Harvard Prof. Michael Sandel in his “Justice” course.)

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