An Explanation Of The Racist & Elitist History Of The SAT

October 1, 2018  |  

NEW YORK – JUNE 27: SAT test preparation books sit on a shelf at a Barnes and Noble store June 27, 2002 in New York City. College Board trustees decided June 27 to add a written essay and other changes to the SAT in an overhaul of the college entrance exam. The first administration of the new SAT will occur in March of 2005. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Vogue’s latest column, “The Perfect Score,” examines the overarching history of standardized testing in America–rooted in racist and elitist practices, directly impacting marginalized communities.

While the age-old notion that standardized testing is most harmful students, primarily found in communities of color has been backed with numerous studies and research, the column’s latest op-ed by Mariana Viera does a thorough job of profiling standardized testing and the work needed to rectify the damage.

Laid in the groundwork akin to the “American Dream,” primary and secondary students are repeatedly told that receiving a high score on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is the key to higher education and a more fruitful way of life.

“In high-stakes settings, standardized tests are used as primary determinants of student access to, or else denial of, resources, opportunities, and spaces,” Viera writes.

The essay goes on to dismantle the notion–highlighting that many times students in disadvantaged communities are not armed with the same decks as their white, middle class counterparts and that outlining items such as race, economic status and parental education are not factored into outcomes.

“The tests themselves have a long history of favoring white, middle-class students by testing bodies of knowledge that are fundamentally white and middle-class; therefore, the tests reinforce the idea that white identity is the default American identity,” Viera writes.

Viera uses striking examples to prove her point, noting that tests have been found to root out questions where Black and Latino students have a higher favorability to answer correctly, while favoring questions white students correctly answer in higher percentages.

Standardized testing has also negatively impacted educators who are mainly focused on passing state tests due to educational policies. From the early 1900’s to current day, the framework of these tests have been used to affectively reign over the status quo, while offering a closed-door to a large segment of the population.

You can read the full piece here.

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