What’s Holding American Students Back? The SAT

Peter Coy, Bloomberg Businessweek, October 3, 2013

University of Wyoming President Robert Sternberg was stupid in elementary school. IQ tests said so. Knowing his scores, his teachers in the 1950s expected him to perform badly, and he agreeably lived down to their expectations. In fourth grade a teacher named Virginia Alexa saw something special in him and conveyed her high expectations. Almost overnight he became an A student. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a doctorate in psychology from Stanford, and later served as president of the American Psychological Association. Not so stupid after all. “My entire future trajectory changed as a result of just one teacher,” Sternberg writes in a 2010 book, College Admissions for the 21st Century.

{snip} It’s not only IQ tests that defeat students, he says. It’s also the SAT and ACT, the college-admissions tests that he says are—contrary to their developers’ assertions—“basically IQ tests in disguise.” Sternberg says he thinks college applicants should also be asked to demonstrate their creativity, practical intelligence, and even wisdom, qualities which are in shorter supply than cleverness. “If you look at why this country is so screwed up,” he says, “it’s not because the people running it have low SATs.”

The U.S. rode to economic supremacy with the world’s highest share of young college grads, but now its percentage of graduates at the typical age of graduation is behind those of Australia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Sweden, and the U.K., the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says.

{snip}

The SAT and its rival, the ACT, are part of the problem. Designed to ferret out hidden talent, the tests have become, for some students at least, barriers to higher education. Scores are highly correlated with family income; Harvard law professor Lani Guinier calls the SAT a “wealth test.” Type “SAT” into Amazon.com, and you’ll have to scroll past more than 200 test-prep volumes before you get to one book that’s a history or critique of the test. Because the SAT and ACT are now thought of as yardsticks of ability, students who do poorly on them are marked—or mark themselves—as failures. Overreliance on the SAT and ACT threatens to make America’s institutions of higher education even more elitist, adding to income inequality and harming U.S. competitiveness. The irony is that these were the very ills the tests were designed to combat.

Since the earliest days of the republic, there have been two schools of thought about the merits of sorting students, as recounted in Nicholas Lemann’s 1999 book The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy. Thomas Jefferson, who believed in a “natural aristocracy,” said that in Virginia all white boys and girls should get a free public education from ages 6 to 8, after which “twenty of the best geniuses”—boys only—“will be raked from the rubbish annually and be instructed, at the public expense.”

New Englander Henry Adams was less disdainful of the rubbish. He said Jefferson’s natural aristocracy was no better than regular old aristocracy: “I would trust one as soon as the other with unlimited power.”

Jefferson’s side, the sorters, won. The SAT was launched in 1926 as a variant of an intelligence test used in World War I to place soldiers and sailors. Harvard adopted it in 1934. The University of California long resisted using standardized tests but in 1968—swamped by more qualified applications than it could handle—began requiring applicants to submit SAT scores as a way to screen out lower achievers. By this past academic year almost 1.7 million students took the SAT, and about 1.8 million took the faster-growing ACT.

Lately the influence of the tests has generated a backlash. Admissions officers at about 850 four-year colleges now make standardized tests optional for some or all of their applicants, according to FairTest, a nonprofit watchdog. A certain amount of self-interest is at work: If weak students don’t submit scores, then average reported scores go up and their schools ascend in the annual U.S. News college ranking. To be less cynical, the tests do stigmatize low scorers and distract people “from what they really need to do, which is mastering academic subjects in their high school,” says Wake Forest University sociologist Joseph Soares, whose school went SAT-optional in 2008.

Jay Rosner, executive director of the Princeton Review Foundation, once analyzed rarely disclosed “item-level” data from old SATs and found a troubling pattern. The College Board drops questions if they tend to be answered incorrectly by students who otherwise do well on the test—or if they tend to be answered correctly by students who otherwise do poorly. That seems like an admirable attempt to control quality, but it reinforces the status quo: Questions that white and Asian males don’t do particularly well on are systematically shorn from the tests.

The College Board—the nonprofit consortium of colleges, high schools, and other organizations that creates the SAT—has repeatedly jiggered the test to respond to critics, most obviously in 2005, when it added a writing section that boosted the highest possible score to 2400 from 1600. Huge disparities remain. Asians score the highest on the test, and their average rose this past academic year even as the scores of all other ethnic groups fell.

The College Board’s president, David Coleman, is a member of the educational elite with a strong do-gooder streak. As a student at Yale he started a program for students to tutor low-income pupils at New Haven’s Hillhouse High School. Coleman and his team are completing a major revision of the SAT to be unveiled in January 2014 and launched in the spring of 2015. He wants the test to “propel” students toward deeper learning of real things. The test will be based on what students study in school and not “shrouded in mystery,” he says. That means fewer abstruse vocabulary words (like “abstruse”) and essays that are based on documents so human graders can evaluate the correctness of their writers’ arguments, not just their style. {snip}

Coleman is taking a step in the right direction, but the SAT and ACT are still fundamentally about sorting by smarts. Imagine if hospitals evaluated incoming patients the way colleges evaluate applicants: Only the healthiest cases would be admitted. Thanks in part to the pernicious influence of published college rankings, schools have an incentive to entice more students to apply simply in order to reject them.

For the good of a country that’s losing its lead in the global race for knowledge, it would be more productive to expand opportunities for learning than to monkey with the tests that parcel out existing slots. Increased government funding of postsecondary education is one way to open the bottleneck and reduce the importance of standardized tests. {snip}

Sternberg, the formerly stupid first-grader, wound up running the University of Wyoming this fall after academic postings at Yale, Tufts, and Oklahoma State. At all three schools his research showed that measuring students’ creativity and practicality could predict their college success better than plain SAT scores could. The message: Real life is messy. You’re not given five answers to choose from. And America shouldn’t depend on something resembling an IQ test to rake geniuses from the rubbish.

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  • So they find some wheat in the chaff, one anecdotal example, and now they think that every piece of chaff is really wheat.

    The SAT and ACT and IQ tests were actually designed to do what the author of this article wants, to find high ability students where one wouldn’t ordinarily expect to find them. The problem is that a very big majority of such high ability economically disadvantaged students are white and in red state America, and they’re not wanted.

    As an aside, I’ve recently stumbled on a very good blog called Education Realist. I found out there that the SAT/ACT prep disparity argument doesn’t hold water because blacks and Hispanics do test prep more often than whites.

    To be less cynical, the tests do stigmatize low scorers and distract
    people “from what they really need to do, which is mastering academic
    subjects in their high school,” says Wake Forest University sociologist
    Joseph Soares, whose school went SAT-optional in 2008.

    Except there’s so much grade inflation and course title inflation in certain schools (guess who), that high school transcripts are almost useless.

    He wants the test to “propel” students toward deeper learning of real
    things. The test will be based on what students study in school and not
    “shrouded in mystery,” he says. That means fewer abstruse vocabulary
    words (like “abstruse”) and essays that are based on documents so human
    graders can evaluate the correctness of their writers’ arguments, not
    just their style.

    The most social justicey and politically correct essays get the highest scores.

    Imagine if hospitals evaluated incoming patients the way colleges
    evaluate applicants: Only the healthiest cases would be admitted.

    Except the purpose of hospitals is to treat sick people. Ever hear of triage?

    For the good of a country that’s losing its lead in the global race for
    knowledge, it would be more productive to expand opportunities for
    learning than to monkey with the tests that parcel out existing slots.

    Yah, because if it’s intelligence you want, you look for stupidity.

    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      The essays were designed to identify black and brown students, particularly in California because of the constraints of Prop 209. Black and brown students are encouraged to write sob stories — and absolutely identify their RACE — about their experiences in oppressive White America.

      The essays are “scored holistically” (as are college applications now)– and given a LOT of weight, as in “life experience,” against test scores and grades. I’ve heard that MANY non-Whites are now part of the college application winnowing process.

      Sob-story essays are how students like Kashawn Campbell, woefully lacking in reading, writing and computing skills, was accepted to Cal Berkeley — where took a qualified student’s place and where he is floundering.

      Also, the LAUSD PAYS for SAT test prep services (Kaplan in particular) to come into the schools — ≈ $1500 per student.

      Bon

    • rowingfool

      Anecdotal but here goes. When I graduated from high school we had one (1) person in our class with a perfect 4.0. And she studied Home Economics. Those of us who studied college level Chemistry and Physics etc. All A’s? Forget it. We had National Merit finalists who didn’t get even close to 4.0’s. For us, IQ and SAT tests were boons. Where else could we prove ourselves? Teachers can and do give lower grades to bright students who don’t have the best personality, talk out in class or are maybe physically unpleasant to look at. Subjectivity in test grading is unavoidable which is why essay questions on these SAT tests bother me.

      Today’s high schools often have 15 to 25 student valedictorians with perfect grades.

      How else but through standardized testing can we compare apples to apples?

      • QuinnTheEskimo9

        Yes, exactly. SAT tests were at one time de facto IQ tests so kids with high IQs and so-so grades could and did shine.

    • ViktorNN

      Just checked out the Education Realist blog you mentioned. Fascinating! Thanks for recommending it.

  • [Guest]

    >>>Jefferson’s side, the sorters, won.

    If that is so, the fact that the U.S. has become a mess academically is the result of our having moved far, far AWAY from that side.

    • Sick of it

      The closer we are to Thomas Jefferson, the more American we become.

      • Mike Conrad

        True enough, and also sufficient explanation for the many ways Th Jefferson is nowadays pilloried in the mass media. I can’t find a mention of him for the past few years which doesn’t promote as accepted fact (it is most certainly not) his supposed liaisons with a slave girl. All that’s actually known is that someone within his male lineage (his brother for example) apparently did so. But it’s presented always and everywhere as fact now.

        As the TJ Heritage Scholars’ committee concluded: ” it is our unanimous view that the allegation is by no means proven; and we find it regrettable that public confusion about the 1998 DNA testing and other evidence has misled many people into believing that the issue is closed. With the exception of one member, whose views are set forth both below and in the more detailed appended dissent, our individual conclusions range from serious skepticisms about the charge to a conviction that it is almost certainly untrue.”

        • Sick of it

          Last I heard, scholars were fairly certain it was his brother, not Thomas himself, who had relations with said slave girl. But yeah, I’ve heard the media hype for years.

  • Spartacus

    “The U.S. rode to economic supremacy with the world’s highest share of
    young college grads, but now its percentage of graduates at the typical
    age of graduation is behind those of Australia, Denmark, Finland,
    Iceland, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland,
    Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Sweden, and the U.K., the Organisation
    for Economic Co-operation and Development says.”

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    What do all these countries have that the US doesn’t have ? Hmmm… Could it be paler demographics ? Oh-oh, I’m a racist !

  • bigone4u

    I think Sternberg is lying about being tagged stupid as a child. I’ve known too many university administrators who make up junk to get in tight with the politically correct crowd. Sternberg’s little story allows him to jump on the “IQ doesn’t matter” bandwagon, using himself as example #1. PS: Isn’t that an Illuminati hand sign he’s making?

    • Even if he is telling the truth, and I’m with you in think it’s all pap, it’s, as HBD Chick says, the exception that proves the rule.

    • Nathanwartooth

      I agree with you. I called BS on that story the second i read it.

      Also a “poor” student (D or F I’m guessing) jumping up to an A student just isn’t possible. Perhaps if he was being severely beaten every single day of his life, had a massive health problem or something along those lines that got cured. But otherwise it’s total BS.

      • MBlanc46

        It’s possible if his problem was motivation. It’s not possible if his problem was lack of native wit, which is clearly no the case.

        • Brian

          If a third world tribe is short, you figure malnutrition is stunting their growth, so you give them food. And maybe their height rises some in the next generation. But if it doesn’t get all the way up to average, you have to start looking for another cause. This guy must have had something stunting him, and once it was removed, he did fine. Other kids are performing poorly because they had poor genes for intelligence, and no number of pep talks, or foregoing of IQ tests, is going to fix that.

    • Romulus

      Sternburg and rosner huh? Hmmmm, methinks there’s a connection, yes?

    • c684570

      I wasn’t shocked to see someone with the last name “Sternberg” [or Stern or Berg for that matter] jumping on the PC bandwagon.

    • JohnEngelman

      Robert Sternberg’s story reminds me of Charles Atlas’ claim to have gone from being a sickly fifteen year old 97 pound weakling to becoming an award winning athlete.

  • borogirl54

    Most schools do not look at SAT scores anyway. They accept students from poor schools that have high grades but do not do well on the tests. So what is the point of the tests anyway?

    • QuinnTheEskimo9

      Yes they do, take it from one on the inside. Any college that wants to be rated knows that there is terrible grade inflation. SATs and ACTs are the great equalizers. There is nothing else.

  • sbuffalonative

    Let’s see. After we do away with screening SAT’s we’ll have to find a way to ensure that everyone will pass the courses. How will we do that?

    • borogirl54

      The only indicator would be the AP or IB courses that the student took while in high school and whether he/she passed the tests.

  • Rhialto

    When the Liberals disparage IQ tests, SAT, or any test that measures intelligence, I am reminded of the way the Creationists have derided objective evidence of evolution. No matter how awkward and implausible the refutation was; they embrace it as a shelter from reality.

  • So CAL Snowman

    ” He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a
    doctorate in psychology from Stanford, and later served as president of
    the American Psychological Association. Not so stupid after all.”

    I seem to remember another Yale graduate who had problems with the English language and eating pretzels. I think they made him President or something.

  • APaige

    “If you look at why this country is so screwed up,” he says, “it’s not because the people running it have low SATs.”

    The country’s screwed up because the people running it let in too many people who score low on the SAT; and subsidize the breeding of low scorers.

  • GeneticsareDestiny

    The only thing wrong with the SAT is how much it has been dumbed down over the years. Really, colleges ought to be allowed to give actual IQ tests, but in lieu of that a good, strong SAT test is the best option.

    How and when did standardized testing become so incredibly unfashionable? I’ve always loved taking standardized tests, whether I did well on them or not. I like knowing how I rank against my peers. I don’t understand where all the dread and hatred of them is coming from.

    • MBlanc46

      “[W]hen did standardized testing become so incredibly unfashionable?” When the great and the good decided that their could not be disparate racial outcomes.

  • APaige

    “SAT and ACT are still fundamentally about sorting by smarts.” That is the whole point. The ‘hospital analogy’ is wrong (didn’t they remove analogy section from tests?) Applicant is to college what a patient is to a hospital. Smartest applicant is to first accepted as sickest patient is to first admitted. A hospital admitting the healthy patient is like a college taking the dumbest…aaah…as in…affirmative action.

  • Luca

    Bottom line is the agenda. Lower the standards so more unqualified students can attend college. Colleges get to crow about their high rate of attendance and the diversity of the student body. The government hands out loans left and right and since so many kids can attend with easily obtained government money, the tuition goes up. With all this money floating around the teachers can now get paid more to indoctrinate the impressionable kids into the leftist agenda. A vicious circle, and guess who gets to pay for all this?

    • bigone4u

      Gave you an upvote, but it’s not the profs getting all the money. The administrations are growing superfast and they get the big raises and the big money. But the real money goes to the bankers and the builders. Bankers profit from student loans and builders build all the new facilities to house and teach unqualified diversity. I computed that at my former university the cost was $10 billion more or less to educate the squat monsters that the university was bringing in en masse.

    • Mergatroyd

      Lower the standards so more unqualified students REPLACE qualified white students.

      That is the agenda.

  • dd121

    The libs hate IQ tests because they can’t devise one that erases the differences between the races. I don’t think they ever will which supports the notion that there are fundamental genetic differences among different groups of people and individuals.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    In fourth grade a teacher named Virginia Alexa saw something special in him and conveyed her high expectations. Almost overnight he became an A student

    This sounds like the sort of “feel good” story from a huckster like Tony Robins or Kevin Trudeau–the kind of story that leaves most of the facts out.

    If his IQ tests said he was “stupid” by the fourth grade, I’m sure the tests would have been readministered. IQ can’t be fully established by fourth grade anyway. Of course, this happened in the 1950s, and we all know how backward and sinister that era was, right?

    Imagine if hospitals evaluated incoming patients the way colleges evaluate applicants: Only the healthiest cases would be admitted

    No, only the ones who would most benefit from the hospital’s services would be admitted, duh. This faulty analogy is typical of the writer’s “logic.”

  • leftists are delusional

    Another university president from the tribe.

  • IKantunderstand

    You know? I seriously did not read this article. Gosh, I don’t know what to say, other than this: College is B.S. for the really smart and talented people. I don’t know if Alexander Bell went to college. I don’t know if Edison went to college. I don’t if the Wright brothers went to college. But, I do know this: Mr. Bell did NOT get a degree in telecommunications. Mr. Edison did not receive a degree in electrical engineering, and, the Wright brothers, did not receive a degree in aeronautics.

    • Brian

      This is true and it’s a good point, but to make a small counterpoint, to have a decent chance of pushing the envelope in these fields now, you have to learn the things that the earlier folks figured out– the bar is higher for where you need to be to make a contribution, and university can be useful for that. I took electrical engineering, and to do anything useful, I need to know what Maxwell, Volta, Ampere, Ohm, Coulomb, et al. knew, just as a starting point.

      • Sick of it

        The basics of what they knew. You won’t receive the advanced theory when working on a B.S. in Engineering (from what I’ve seen, I’m not sure the grad students do either).

        • Brian

          I beg to differ. You might not get the advanced stuff at some online diploma mill, or a 2-year community college, but after 4 years at Georgia Tech, you will know everything that Maxwell knew about emag, and much more. There is no hidden gnostic initiation rite they’re holding back. I’m not saying you will everything that is known now, but what was known in the 19th century is covered, and much more.

  • MBlanc46

    It would be great if they could devise tests that would measure creativity and practical intelligence. But can you imagine the anguished wailing from the integrationists when the blacks and Hispanics do significantly worse on those, too? It’s difficult enough devising achievement and general intelligence tests and getting their results taken seriously, so I’d recommend holding off on more airy-fairy goals until we can do the basic bit right.

  • John Ulfsson

    The Chinese literally riot when they’re barred from cheating back in China.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    The College Board’s president, David Coleman, is a member of the educational elite with a strong do-gooder streak… one of his top priorities is to reshape the organization’s influential college-admissions test, the SAT, to better reflect the new standards.

    David Coleman is the architect of the new Commie Core Curriculum:

    From American Thinker’s exposé on Coleman:

    He has never been a classroom teacher and wants to replace traditional subjects with broad learning. He believes there is ‘a massive social injustice in this country’ and that education is ‘the engine of social justice.’

    His mother and greatest influence, Elizabeth Coleman, president of Bennington College in Vermont, is of the view that school curriculum should be designed to address ‘political-social challenges.’ She emphasizes an ‘action-oriented curriculum’ where ‘students continuously move outside the classroom to engage the world directly.’ In short: indoctrination through propaganda in education as the vehicle for social transformation.

    Mrs. Coleman founded a social justice initiative – the Center for the Advancement of Public Action (she called it a ‘secular church’) – ‘which invites students to put the world’s most pressing problems at the center of their education.’

    And there you have it — David Coleman has an agenda all right — Agenda 21!!

    The SAT will now be re-centered to reflect Coleman’s agenda– socialism, White guilt, self-esteem, Che, Mao, global citizenship, culturally sensitive spelling and language, same sex marriage and government über-alles.

    IOW: No math or English skills are required for government slaves and cannon fodder.

    Bon

    • Romulus

      Yes, I read that as well. We’ve all seen this movie before.
      An annual summary by amren of the broader subject matter would go a long way for loyal readers and posters to see “the big picture”. I’ve made mention of that before.
      It is especially helpful to readers that have just recently joined the discussions.
      If amren doesn’t as of yet feature a summary essay, any of the astute regular commentators could offer words of wisdom.

    • Hunter Morrow

      Figures that he’s another Frankfurt School You-Know-What.
      DAYVID COLE-MANNNN! You goyische kopf need some re-education!

  • Sick of it

    Things have changed a lot in 20 years. Unless one wants to rob a bank, they often have no access to capital so they can start a business.

    • No access to capital? Nonsense! We have government small business loans, and blighted (read “black”) urban areas are often declared “enterprise zones” in which business locating there do not pay corporate income taxes. In other words, it is quite possible to start a small business without having to do what I did and save up for it, unless one is too stupid, too lazy, and/or dropped out of school without acquiring any marketable skills.

      • Sick of it

        I’m looking at the requirements right now and you have to have money to invest already (the businesses they disallow are highly profitable business types btw). So I’d already have to save up money then beg the government for more, as I’m not a minority. I’ve seen plenty of programs for minority businesses. A microloan would be an option, but again I’d already have to have quite a bit of money as $50,000 (the maximum) is too low to start almost any business today.

        • Get started small. When I started buying automotive and machine shop tools, I didn’t buy everything all at once. I had to prioritize the purchases.

          There are also creative ways to save money on overhead. The Korean woman who cuts my hair lives in the back of her shop. Yes, she’s paying rent on the business space, but she isn’t renting an apartment somewhere. I work out of my two-car garage and unfinished basement.

          • Sick of it

            I should’ve looked into more practical skills rather than attending college, with the way the economy is today. A plumber in my local area could make quite a bit of money, being pretty well the only game in town (multiple towns).

  • Sick of it

    Sternberg is so bright he ended up in university administration…

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    About those Asian IQs…

    • I know where this is from, and it is not based on actual data. Asians have far higher SAT standard deviations than whites and blacks, and, therefore, have a wider bell curve.

    • sshadow

      Allowing for the shape of IQ curve, it enables red to excel at science with hard work, and be good at copying technology, but only the blue have the ability to extend the frontiers of scientific knowledge. Bill Gates at a known IQ of 160 would have no peer in all of China. Mr Engleman, are you listening?

  • Romulus

    I’ve said many times over the course of the year, Asian IQ is questionable, yet Engleman and other asianphiles persist with their rhetoric. Peasant factory workers on the bottom, engineers and the like at the top. Same as anywhere else.

    • dumbfuckdemocrats

      You guys are embarrassing. You cannot cheat on an IQ test.

      The reason why white countries are more advanced is due to the outliers. Out of 1 million Japanese, the average IQ might be 106, but there might be only 10 with an IQ of 150 or more. Out of 1 million Englishmen, the average IQ might be 100, but there could be 50 with an IQ of 150 or more. Along with that, whites tend to be more creative and adventurous.

  • MekongDelta69

    University of Wyoming President Robert Sternberg was stupid in elementary school.

    I have some breaking news for you Sternberg. You’re STILL stupid…

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    The main purpose of the SAT is to determine college readiness — whether or not a given student can handle the vocabulary and lexicon found in college-level textbooks — because real college texts are difficult. The average sentence in a high school text is 13 words; in a college text it is 26.

    A critical question is this: Does the student have sufficient vocabulary, reading comprehension skills and command of the English language to be successful in college?

    The College Board researchers defined college readiness as an SAT score that predicts a 65 percent probability or higher of getting a first-year college grade point average of 2.7 or higher—a B-minus average in an age of grade inflation, with no limitations on the courses that qualify. Even with this relaxed expectation, the benchmark scores were 590 for the SAT -verbal, 610 for the SAT-Math and 1180 or higher combined score.

    Here are two more examples taken from college freshman introductory textbooks, p. 400:

    Philosophy. “The most prominent philosophical outcome of these several converging strands of postmodern thought has been a many-sided critical attack on the central Western philosophical tradition from Platonism onward. The whole project of that tradition to grasp and articulate a foundational reality has been criticized as a futile exercise in linguistic game playing…”

    Western History. “The Protestant Reformation could not have occurred without the monumental crises of the medieval church during the ‘exile’ in Avignon, the Great Schism, the conciliar period, and the Renaissance papacy. For increasing numbers of people the medieval church had each new variable addition of labor and fertilizer has a smaller proportion of land to work with.”

    How many high school students could understand the convoluted wording found in these types of (freshman) textbooks? Charles Murray estimates about 10% — yet students now are being told that ALL are capable and must go to college.

    How will “wisdom” (whatever THAT means) help students understand college-level material? He either has the necessary skills — vocabulary, writing, math, reading comprehension — or he doesn’t.

    And this is why the SAT is still important.

    Bon

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Statistician La Griffe Du Lion.

    http://www // lagriffedulion // f2s // com/

  • Funruffian

    I remember when the top score was only 1600 on the SAT. Now it’s 2400. They either extended it or changed it to be culturally unbiased.

    • Mergatroyd

      It was dumbed down, the harder parts were eliminated.

    • I’d guess that they added a third section to the SAT. I took the SAT in 1983, and there were two sections with a maximum of 800 on each. When I took the Graduate Record Exam in 1987, there were three sections worth 800 points apiece.

  • JohnEngelman

    Sternberg says he thinks college applicants should also be asked to demonstrate their creativity, practical intelligence, and even wisdom, qualities which are in shorter supply than cleverness. “If you look at why this country is so screwed up,” he says, “it’s not because the people running it have low SATs.”

    – Peter Coy, Bloomberg Businessweek, October 3, 2013

    Part of the reason is because people with low SAT scores receive preferential treatment because of affirmative action policies.

  • JohnEngelman

    The SAT and its rival, the ACT, are part of the problem. Designed to ferret out hidden talent, the tests have become, for some students at least, barriers to higher education. Scores are highly correlated with family income.

    – Peter Coy, Bloomberg Businessweek, October 3, 2013

    This is because intelligent people tend to make good incomes and to have children who inherit their intelligence.

  • JohnEngelman

    Overreliance on the SAT and ACT threatens to make America’s institutions of higher education even more elitist, adding to income inequality and harming U.S. competitiveness.

    – Peter Coy, Bloomberg Businessweek, October 3, 2013

    Reliance on the tests will probably add to income inequality, but they will not harm U.S. competitiveness. To the contrary, the tests contribute to the selection of a more capable meritocracy.

    • How long has it been since the US was a meritocracy? The 1964 Civil Rights Act?

      • JohnEngelman

        The United States is a meritocracy at the top.

        Several months ago I read an article in The New York Times that I wish I kept. It said that the children of the rich score better on mental aptitude tests than they did a generation ago.

        That confirms the central argument Richard Herrnstein wrote in an article entitled “IQ” that was published in the October 1971 issue of Atlantic. Professor Herrnstein said that because of social mobility people with high IQ’s are moving up in status, while people with low IQ’s are moving down.

        Charles Murray has documented the process in his book “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.”

  • Puggg

    Grades are holding us back.

    Tests are holding us back.

    Poverty is holding us back.

    School is holding us back.

    Teachers are holding us back.

    Slavery is holding us back.

    Achievement gaps are holding us back.

    The lack of universal health care is holding us back.

    Food deserts are holding us back.

    Us being held back is holding us back.

    The only way out is just to give everyone a Harvard graduate degree, whether or not they know the first thing about anything or not, just so we can get ahead.

    • You forgot a few:

      Large sodas are holding us back.

      The Second Law of Thermodynamics is holding us back.

      The color of Band Aids is holding us back.

      Married heterosexuals are holding us back.

      People who pay their bills on time are holding us back.

      George Zimmerman is holding us back.

      The Monroe Doctrine is holding us back.

      The Ottoman Empire is holding us back.

      Nuclear power is holding us back.

      Pizza delivery is holding us back.

      Global warming is holding us back.

  • Brian

    University of Wyoming President Robert Sternberg was stupid in
    elementary school. IQ tests said so. Knowing his scores, his teachers in
    the 1950s expected him to perform badly, and he agreeably lived down to
    their expectations. In fourth grade a teacher named Virginia Alexa saw
    something special in him and conveyed her high expectations. Almost
    overnight he became an A student.

    Reminds me of a Carl Sagan quote: But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at
    Bozo the Clown.

    This guy defied the IQ test, so everyone with a low IQ score will too, with the right self-esteem-boosting teacher, and we may as well chuck the whole testing enterprise. Everyone gets a trophy!

  • Brian

    Sternberg says he thinks college applicants should also be asked to
    demonstrate their creativity, practical intelligence, and even wisdom,
    qualities which are in shorter supply than cleverness. “If you look at
    why this country is so screwed up,” he says, “it’s not because the
    people running it have low SATs.”

    If this guy had done better on the IQ test, perhaps he would understand the difference between ‘necessary’ and ‘sufficient’. How would one even appraise wisdom in a way that would be remotely objective?

    Scores are highly correlated with family income; Harvard law professor Lani Guinier calls the SAT a “wealth test.”

    Family income is also correlated highly with IQ of the parents, which correlates highly to SAT scores for the children. How stupid are these people?

    • Mergatroyd

      They’re not stupid, Brian — except for Lani Guinier — they know exactly what they’re doing. The intention isn’t to promote blacks, it’s to destroy whites, and they’ll use everything in their arsenal to reach this goal, lie, cheat, deny, ignore. But, that is for whites and ONLY whites, not for THEIR people.

  • Brian

    It also costs a fortune and leads to credential inflation.

  • Tarczan

    So this guy does badly on first grade tests, later goes onto academic success and the conclusion is that tests are faulty? For one thing tests are much better now, but more likely a young boy just wasn’t ready for the structured environment of a school.

    Based on this, they are ready to throw out academic testing.

  • Allan477

    Ah, yes, the wise Negro, who would do so well at college if only he didn’t have to read and write. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic. The SAT’s measure the basic skills needed to be successful in college.)

  • Mergatroyd

    The desire to toss out standardized tests stems from the fact that every (honest) test ever given at any time proves that blacks are one SD below whites in IQ points. No matter how often the tests are tweaked and dumbed down, that pesky SD keeps appearing. Only way to get rid of the IQ difference is to eliminate the test.

  • Mergatroyd

    It hurts society MORE when whites kids are passed over in favor of unqualified blacks or Hispanics. What about THEIR feelings? Well, they don’t count because white kids don’t count. They and their race are to be destroyed by any means necessary, and this is just one more way to do it.

  • Zaporizhian Sich

    The crap curriculum, the “die-versity” hell hole public schools have been turned to, the constant threats and violence are holding whites back in school. Not to mention methods of teach designed to dumb children down. As for the rest, they are willfully refusing to learn, and do anything they can to scuttle other’s efforts to learn. To them making something of oneself is “acting white.” They come from a culture actively hostile to learning, That is why we have shooting at schools now. That is why they are daytime detention centers now. That is why they are insane asylums now. The simple fact is, what is holding a growing number of so-called American students back are the students themselves. As far as I am concerned, the only American students are white kids, having been in a public school, the non-whites kids with few exceptions are unwelcome intruders in my land. Why do I feel this way? I personally saw how they try to ruin white children’s education by disrupting classes and other anti-social behavior including destruction of school property and violent attacks against whites.

  • Mergatroyd

    When you’re a straight white guy you are passed over for college admission in favor of unqualified blacks who scored far below you on the SAT and ACT. This is the way it is now. Expect to be passed over for promotions, raises and other perks too and be forced sit by and watch as unqualified non-whites zoom past you. Complain? You are an oppressive racist who wants to keep blacks down, they have a right to make up for past discrimination, at YOUR expense.
    The idea of keeping you out of prestigious universities is to lower your credibility. Who are you going to believe, the great Harvard professor or some guy that went to a 3rd-tier state college.
    Angry yet?

    • saxonsun

      People aren’t asked their sexual orientation. Perhaps they have straidar.

      • QuinnTheEskimo9

        Yes, they are.

    • I once worked for a company that expected me to “carry” a pair of incompetent Indian PhDs. In other words, I would have to do the work, while they got to add their names to the patents and would receive the large salaries.

      My response was to take an “in-office vacation”, which lasted a year before my unproductive sloth was noticed. Then I quit.

      That company has no major contracts anymore, just a bunch of Phase-One SBIRs from DARPA.

  • Mergatroyd

    You did well because you have a high IQ. Jobs dropped out of Rice, Gates out of Harvard, but both got in which shows a high level of intelligence. There have been many success stories about those who dropped out of high school or college; but those are exceptions, not the rule, most certainly are not successful and college isn’t for everyone.
    But it takes smarts, and a lot of it, to be successful, especially in the dog-eat-dog business world in order to stay competitive.

    • Sick of it

      Rich family friends are also great to bankroll a new company.

      • Mergatroyd

        So are ethnic advocacy groups that help their and ONLY their own people, with government money, no less.

  • deadindenver

    Just by his name “Robert Sternberg” tells me that maybe he just liked to play games when he took intelligence test in his younger days. More likely he is just a statically outlier or the exception not the rule. The media is very good at finding outliers but it’s not hard to do because they are so outside of the norm they stand out like brightly lite flags of international orange on a light gray background. The problem with the media and others they then think this result can be translated to masses which is naive or outright propaganda. Einstien in his younger days was apparently not a good student but his innate intelligence eventually came out, most importantly he was a outlier, the article implies that are many more Einstiens out there, however this is just false hope anyone who knows anything about statistics, know the tests capture most of the truth but yes there always be a few and I mean a few that will fall through the cracks.

  • Nathanwartooth

    Why can’t both the chart be true and those stories be true?

    I’m not really seeing where they conflict.

    • JohnEngelman

      The chart states that fewer Asians would have genius level IQ’s. The fact that Asians are present in elite universities in the United States out of proportion to their numbers in the U.S. population demonstrates that a higher percentage of Asians than white Gentiles have genius level IQ’s.

      I am defining a genius level IQ as one above 130.

  • QuinnTheEskimo9

    They changed it for the blacks.

  • QuinnTheEskimo9

    You could be right. There is a war on boys, the goal is to feminize and emasculate them, to make them more like girls. This is being done by drugging the hell out of them with Ritalin, etc.

  • Hunter Morrow

    The SAT doesn’t sufficiently test for the wisdom of Magical Negros and Wise Latinas With Rich Experiences.

    • Is this the same black wisdom that causes them to beat a 71 year-old woman to death in order to joyride her Lexus? I’m not very clear on this “wisdom” thing.

      • Sick of it

        Wisdom can be objectively quantified. Take the position on an issue held by a cultural Marxist. Consider the complete opposite to be wisdom and the cultural Marxist to be unwise (an historical study of their positions proves this to be true).

        “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

        For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and
        unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

        Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

        For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

        Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

        Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”
        Romans 1:17-22

        • Perhaps you are correct, but we only find that out after we are dead. Moreover, this is a binary distribution. One is either “saved” or “damned”. There apparently are not varying degrees of the separation between the two.

          God doesn’t need the saccharine adoration of His creations. The love my mother and also my wife feel for me are special to me, but other mammals and even birds do this. One can only wonder what a female Tyrranosaur must have been like around her chicks.

          I prefer to believe I am some variety of animal that does not possess an immortal soul. I thus behave the way I do because I am so inclined. I was never baptised, so God need not be involved.

          I can not accept the utility of genetic race-realism while excluding myself.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Sam: My post to you was somehow erased.

    The chart I posted is from a La Griffe Du Lion article about something called the smart fraction. Why is it (asked La Griffe) if Asian IQ is measured 5 IQ points above Whites that it is WHITES that have advanced civilizations and not Asians? Why are Whites leaders in medicine, technology, science? Why are Asian country’s GDPs lower than those of White countries?

    The answer is that we Whites have a larger “smart fraction” in our population than Asians and it is the smart fraction that moves civilization forward – that puts men on the moon, creates computer technology, advanced medical technology, etc.

    Or, as Charles Murray writes in Human Accomplishment

    Charles Murray writes in Human Accomplishment:

    In the sciences, 97 percent of the significant figures and events turned out to be Western. Is this merely Eurocentric bias? Of the 36 science reference books he drew upon, 28 were published after 1980, by which time historians were desperately searching for non-Westerners to praise. Only in this decade has the most advanced non-Western country, Japan, begun to win science Nobels regularly.

    Galileo is at the top in astronomy; Darwin in biology; Newton and Einstein in physics; Pasteur in medicine; Beethoven and Mozart in Western music; and, of course, Shakespeare in Western literature. Technology, Thomas Edison and James Watt.

    Statistician Steve Sailer writes this about Murray’s research:

    Murray reserved eight of his 21 categories for Asians(including Arabic literature, Indian philosophy, and Chinese visual art) for non-Western arts.Murray meticulously dealt with each issue using his mastery of statistics.Murray, who was a Peace Corp volunteer in Thailand and has half-Asian children, began this project wanting to devote even more attention to Asian accomplishments but found he couldn’t justify his predisposition.

    Once assembled, his “inventory” of 4,002 significant figures in 21 categories … to my surprise, I can’t think of a single way to do it better than he did.

    His methods and lists should become the standards for future research.

    Murray also writes that SAT Verbal (not math) scores are a very good predictor of later high achievement.

    Bon

  • Mike Conrad

    In all fairness, the top 20 universities are extremely competitive. And I seriously doubt the admissions committees knew about (or cared about) your ‘sexual orientation’… Moreover, depending on your state, your State U. may well be a good one (Cal, Michigan, Virginia, NC). Finally, if you performed well at your State U, you should have had a good shot at a top 20 law school.

    But yeah, being white certainly doesn’t help, nor does being of southern European extraction. Being white actually hurts even more than you may think, if you’re not of the “Tribe”. See Ron Unz’s article online called “The Myth of American Meritocracy: How corrupt are Ivy League admissions?” for considerable detail on the topic.

  • Sick of it

    John, don’t use figures from places like Japan to justify Chinese IQ. I think most of the people on AR would admit that the Japanese are the smartest non-white group in the world. There are differences among ethnic groups.

    • JohnEngelman

      Richard Lynn ranks Hong Kong and South Korea above Japan. Each have lower averages than Ashkenazi Jews are the most superior race in existence, according to quite a few people, including Richard Lynn.

  • Sick of it

    You’re preaching to the choir. I was accepted to both MIT and Cal Tech but could find no way to scrape together sufficient funds/scholarships to attend, so I went with a good local university.

    By the way, if you want to be a regular contributor, it would be easier on you to create a Disqus account. Not sure if you receive email notices of replies as a guest. You can lock your acct history if you don’t want random people snooping.

  • Jenny Star

    I took the old SATs in the 1980s – I understand they’ve changed them – and the ACT. I scored in the 99th percentile on both in spite of not having the most stellar grades. I took AP classes at an advanced school, and therefore “only” had a B average.
    I get a lot of knee-jerk reactions against IQ testing in general when I bring it up, namely, an insistence that “IQ doesn’t mean anything” or “there’s many different kinds of intelligence”. I’ve been wondering where that assurance comes from. When people say it to me personally it’s rather insulting, like they feel the need to diminish me out of defensiveness because they are intimidated by the obvious fact that I am smarter than them, even though I’m not trying to say “and it makes me a better person than you.” It’s just a fact, like some people are taller than others. Wearing heels doesn’t make you taller in reality, and fooling around with test standards doesn’t make less intelligent people smarter.
    But mostly I don’t bother with such conversations, because I’m too busy trying to reshape and take over the world in my lab.

    • Brian

      I got 98th percentile and heard the same demeaning crapola and whining excuses. If I ever even mentioned it (like in a job interview) I was told not to brag. Think of all the things people are proud of, and even brag ceaselessly about– physical appearance, muscularity, sports prowess, ‘rapping ability’, sense of humor, nationality, wealth, even religious piety. I’m aware that a lot of IQ is genetic and I didn’t earn that, but it’s almost as if I’m supposed to be embarrassed. F%$# that noise. Humanity didn’t get from caves to skyscrapers through any of those other traits…’twas brains that done it’.

      Good luck with the supervillain lair/volcanic laboratory.

  • Sick of it

    The only practical material they learn in psychology is how to manipulate the minds of others in order to get what they want or change the way the other person thinks.