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The SAT (ONLINE DISCUSSION)

April 13, 2012

After watching today’s film, what are your thoughts on the SAT?  Should colleges and universities continue to use the SAT?  How do issues of race, class, and gender shape your thoughts here?

Conversation Ends April 23, 2012

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64 Comments
  1. Amanda Fu permalink

    I think that the original reason for wanting standardized tests like the SAT was good; they had good intentions for having these tests. However, it did not work out as hoped. The original reason for creating the SAT was so that the industrial world would not be so dominated by those people who had rich families and could buy their way into schools and up to the top. The SAT was meant for people who had the potential to be better to enter the world of the elite through merit.

    However, the SAT has seemed to just add more stress into getting into colleges. Although the people in the video say that the SAT does not measure your worth or how smart and clever you are, it still feels that way. I know from personal experience that I feel horrible about getting a lower SAT score than someone who I know that I am smarter than, but then I also feel better when I find out that I have gotten a much better grade than certain other friends. There is always the racial stereotype of how Asians are supposed to be good at school and tests, so when I compare myself through test scores to other Asians I know; it can make me feel like I’m not good enough of an Asian, and I’m sure that I am not the only person who feels that way from these tests.

    I know that the SAT was meant for good reasons, but it seems as though it has caused a lot of unneeded stress and psychological distress as well! There still seems to be a difference between those who can get high scores on the SAT based off of what classes or books their parents pay for and from those who have to self-study and do not have the same money or resources of others. Such as the 500 dollar mentor! I would agree with Claude Steele that the SAT is unfair and not as reliable at measuring intelligence, so I wonder if there would be any better way to test people?

    • Hollyann Jackson permalink

      I agree. It seems that the SAT was originally implemented with good intentions. It gave colleges a way of testing students and made sure that all students were being tested in the same manner, so that there was no inequality. However, as time has passed, instead of the results of the SAT being a part of the criteria for getting into a good college, it seems to have become the end-all be-all. Instead of just a just to see a person’s skill level, it’s become a test that determines what a person’s future education will look like. In doing this, it’s completely defeated it’s original purpose. Instead of a way for everyone to be tested on an equal playing field, it has now become about who has the best resources and the most time. That’s also disregarding those with test anxiety, or who tend to do better on everyday class work than on tests. By focusing solely on the test scores, colleges are ignoring extenuating circumstances, such as financial backgrounds and other strengths the student may possess that may not necessarily include test-taking. Being a good test-taker does not automatically mean a person will succeed at a university.

  2. Diana Hermansen permalink

    After watching the film in class, I feel that the SAT is not a solid representation on how well one will do in college and therefore should have a very small impact on whether you get into college or not. There are so many factors that come into play when taking these SATs and after watching the film, college admissions don’t consider those factors at all when accepting a student.

    One of those factors is money. The video showed students taking all this SAT prep and classes and they mentioned that these classes were expensive but very worth it. These teenagers study their butts off and get tutoring and help just for one single test. But what about the kids that can’t afford to take these prep classes? Does that mean they aren’t as smart or aren’t as qualified to get into the same schools as the kids who payed their way into passing the SAT? The SAT was made to test a “students readiness for college”. However, when you pay a thousand dollars to tutor a student for just one test, how accurate is that? If the college board really wanted a solid and accurate result for how well prepared kids are for college, then SAT prep should not be allowed and students should take the exam with no prior help. That way everyone is equal, and tested based off prior high school knowledge. Tutoring for the SAT is almost an advantage for the more privileged kids and shows that a little bit of money will better your chances at getting into your dream college. College admissions in the movie didn’t even consider that.

    Another factor could be problems that were completely personal. The first time i took the SAT i woke up that morning with the flu and was so sick and miserable but I had to take the test. I could barely concentrate and my head was throbbing and there was no way I was on my A game that day. I ended up getting an average score, but what if I wasn’t sick that day? My GPA was pretty high but if colleges looked at my SAT score and based my admission off of that one test, I would have been in trouble.

    Race and gender also come into play, especially with the SAT. It was said that women generally don’t do as well on the SAT as men do, and if thats the case then the SAT is not a qualified judgement on how well students are prepared for college. I think it said in the movie that women students tend to do better their first year of college then men do which proves how flawed the SAT system is. There are also many racial stereotypes. The most prominent one is that asians will do better on the exam just because they are asian and the stereotype is that asians do really well in school and test better than anyone. Another racial stereotype that was seen was that blacks won’t do as well just because of the stereotypical background that they come from.

    Its sad to think that students do all this work in high school: take AP classes, do a whole bunch of extracurriculars, and study study study (just for high school homework) but what it really comes down to is just one single test. The SAT basically shows that no matter what you do or how hard you work in high school, you better do well on the test or your hopes of getting into school are gone. In my opinion, AP classes were harder and is a direct reflection of ones work ethic in the classroom and out. The SAT shows nothing on how well a student will do in college and is just one big comprehensive test that was made to scare kids and stress them out in a time where most teenagers are the most vulnerable. It is impossible to really see how prepared a student for college based off of one big long draining test. If the SAT continues to be considered in the application process, then admissions should consider the score but put very little look into how high the score is and look much more into GPA, extracurriculars, and backgrounds.

    • John Pally permalink

      I agree with you, the SAT should be less of a factor seeing how little it actually proves intelligence wise. There are so many stereotypes on the SAT between the genders and races that it seems like you are going to do well on the exam if you are a certain race and bad if you are another race.

    • Alex Vo permalink

      I agree with the fact that the SAT is flawed, but you how else are admission’s boards supposed to evaluate possible students? Until there is a better option I don’t see any reason why the SAT can’t be used. And part of the reason that stereotypes are factors is because of economic inequalities and their ties to race. Do not get me wrong, there are major problems with the SAT; but it is hopefully just a temporary system.

  3. Hannah Zabel permalink

    The SAT and other standardized tests, such as the ACT, were made to give colleges another option for deciding whether to admit or reject a student into their universities. It was meant to be a universal “standardize” exam that was fair and the same for any student no matter race, class or gender. This test however has now become one the most stressful and important parts of getting into the school of your dreams. Children across the country strive to receive a perfect score through expensive and extensive tutoring and learning centers. As we saw from the film each of the issues listed above, race, class and gender actually do play a part in doing well on the SAT. If you are a member of the upper class you can afford the costly practice books and weekly tutoring session that will help you receive a better score, as did many of this children in the film. I believe that colleges and universities should not continue to use this exam to show intelligence within a student because as shown in the film now this test is not used for what is was made for anymore.

    • Grant Schultz permalink

      I see what your saying about how this test does give the upper class an advantage, but it also gives the truly brilliant an opportunity to change their life. In my opinion our nation needs a standardized test because it is much easier to compare a standardized test then GPAs. Even though this standardized test isn’t completely fair. I do believe there is to much emphasis on the SAT and maybe if it didn’t have all the extra emphasis it would be more fair for all.

    • Greg Wandro permalink

      I agree. I do not believe that there is a “standardized test”. There are always ways in which people will have advantages. Just because someone is not good at math or writing does not mean that they are stupid. There are also other factors that determine what a student’s grades or SAT score is. If a student has to work to help pay the bills, obviously they are not going to do as well as a student who only has to worry about getting good grades.

  4. Matthew Zimmer permalink

    Coming from someone who has always hated standardized tests I will be a little biased. I am not a good “high pressure situation” test taker. Examinations like the ACT and SAT have always thrown me for a loop. I passed them with scores that were, in my opinion, good enough and WSU thought so too. I didn’t “wow” anyone with my scores, but I got into college so I am happy. The SAT has always seemed like a waste to me. As Amanda mentioned it just adds even more stress to an already nerve-racking process. Applying to college is tough enough as is, but the fact that we all need to pass a test about “how well we take tests” is dumb. Colleges say they don’t make decisions based solely on SAT/ACT, but it feels like it. I was so worried that my 24 on the ACT and 1560 on the SAT wouldn’t be enough for me to go to WSU because I was out of state. Like the video mentioned, with the SAT you never know who had help from a $500-$1000 course. I didn’t prepare at all, except for my prior knowledge of the subjects, so I feel like I may have been at a disadvantage. I didn’t and still don’t have the money for those kind of programs so it puts people at a step below those that can afford it.
    I think they should still use the SAT/ACT but not put as much merit into it. The test can be helpful to tell you how you can do on tests, but I already knew I was sub-par at taking them. Why did I need a test to confirm my worst quality as a student? If colleges want to keep looking at the SAT, they need to worry less about the score and more about the person. The only reason someone should be refused by a college is if they are below 1000. With a new total of 2400 and three tests to get above 1000, that is not difficult. If colleges focus less on the SAT, it will help students focus on their AP/IB test scores instead of freaking out about a test they take on a Saturday.
    Race, class and gender do shape my thoughts because of studies I have read about in past Psychology classes. Race and class make it extremely difficult for people to perform on these tests. There were studies that confirmed the SAT and other similar standardized tests are formulated towards white, middle class males. I am not saying that people who are identified as a different race can’t pass these with high scores, but the studies show that the SAT is centered around one specific set of individuals. These tests frustrate me, and I hope one day they are either removed or at least toned down so that they are fair to everyone.

    • Amanda Fu permalink

      I agree, passing tests does not always show your level of intelligence. I have a family member who stressed out bad about tests that when she took them, she would actually get physically ill. The more important the test, the sicker they got. But now, my family member is an extremely successful business woman in China! So those tests did nothing for her except give her an extremely unhappy school year.

    • Laurel Mahnke permalink

      I agree in some ways that standardized tests cannot fairly determine Someone’s collegiate future. Opposite of Matthew, I loved the SAT and I also love test taking. Prior to the SAT I read vocabulary books and worked through a workbook and I scored well. One thing Matthew mentioned was AP/IB course and how they should be taken in greater consideration. However, that just perpetuates the disparity because schools in low income neighborhoods do not have access or resources for as many of these advanced classes. The SAT and upper level courses create a disparity and getting into college may never be fair because of so many factors. The SAT was supposed to level the playing field but loopholes were found. In turn the test causes getter unnecessary anxiety as Amanda mentioned and greater disparity.

  5. Casey Smith permalink

    After watching todays film it help reinsure my thoughts and feelings about the SATs. I have always thought that they are an unfair representation of our academic knowledge. I understand that they were initially created to enable a fair judgement of our knowledge and were a fair way to compare students to one another for college selection. Unfortunately, the contemporary face of standardized testing has changed dramatically, giving people with good school programs and the money to afford SAT prep courses the distinct advantage over other less fortunate students. I remember some kids in my high school were enrolled in a SAT prep course. They spent every weekend studying and learning the ways of the SAT. The majority of us however had never seen a typical SAT course question and would never see one until they handed us the test. I feel that kids who can take the SAT prep course have the unfair advantage over the kids who can’t take it. It is almost as if they are buying the test results. Same goes for the schools who can afford to offer their students SAT programs. If you come from a school with a lower socioeconomic standard you will unfortunately never be given the chance to take a SAT course. Richer area students receive the advantage that they do not need. I feel that the schools who have a lower income population should be given the resources to install SAT programs in their schools. After all, it is these kids who wont have the economic resources to go to college. The rich kids do. They can pay for their education and that makes the battle for college acceptance unbalanced.
    As for the issue of colleges using SAT scores as a basis of admission I believe that it is wrong and needs to be revamped instantly. In using the SAT standard the colleges are taking in the students who don’t need the scholarships. We need to find an accurate test of knowledge and computation that will let us take in the people who deserve to go to college not just the kids who’s mommy’s and daddy’s could afford the SAT prep courses and pay for their college.
    In my final thoughts I think that the SAT should be made illegal. It isn’t a test that gives everyone the same chance to go to college and there isn’t a test that can be made that way unless everyone is given the same opportunity to study and prepare for. As long as there are classes that are not made available to the general public i think the test shouldn’t count for anything.

  6. John Pally permalink

    My thoughts on the SAT have and always will be that it is a pointless test that is forced upon students in high school to take in order to get into college. The film sort of concluded my thoughts on it. It does not make sense that a student with a 3.8 gpa and is taking and passing AP courses cannot get into a college because he did not get a good enough score on the SAT. Even though the ACT is not much better, I believe it is better than the SAT because it has a more overall view of schooling.
    I believe that universities should not continue using the SAT and completely redo the exam. They should put in meaningful questions and questions that deal with the intelligence of the person taking the exam. Personally though, I took the SAT a while ago and I really do not know if things have changed or not.
    The SAT does seem to be skewed in the results. My high school had a free weekend class that would get students prepared for the SAT, but it was only on Saturdays and the people teaching the class were not the best teachers. It does seem if a person can hire a tutor for the SAT will have a better chance at getting a higher school than a person who goes into the SAT without preparing for it. Once again, the test should be made in order to exam intelligence.

  7. Tyler Fry permalink

    My thoughts on the SAT is that it should continue to be used to see where students are at academically to see what they got out of their years of school, but colleges should not focus so heavily on it when deciding who should get into their school or not. The test is a good way to test someone’s knowledge but to an extent. For one, it is been hyped up a lot over the years to where it makes people very nervous before the test to take it which can cause a lot of people to do poorly on it just because they psyched themselves out too much. Second, it is one test on one random day, not an entire career of schoolwork that you worked toward. For people like myself who are not the best test takers but know and understand the material, it is hard to do extremely well on the test just because of the format it is in. I graduated with a 3.5 gpa but didnt have an outstanding SAT score but was still able to get into a good college. For people that have the same credentials as me and want to go to a more prestigeous school, it is nearly impossible to do so which just puts too much weight on one single test instead of a career of work. I think it is rediculous to continue putting this much weight on one test, but in my opinion it will not change for a very long time.
    As far a race and gender are concerned, obvious tests have been proven to show that blacks do worse on these types of tests because of stereotype threats so this really just hurts them. For gender based, women and men tend to do different on tests and from what i have read, men tend to do better on this test but in my opinion, women tended to do better in my high school than men did. This just shows that white males are at the top of another stupid list. This is just another reason why schools should not focus so much on one little test, but on the careers of the students and what they have done throughout their lives.

    • Alexandra Wilson permalink

      I agree with tylers statement that the SAT is too over hyped up. I remember hearing about the SAT through parents, media and the movies since I was a little kid. I thought this one test would decide my entire future. When in reality this test has many flaws and discriminates racially and through gender. The SAT can continued to be used however, it shouldnt be such a important factor. Other creditials such as AP and IB classes taken while in high school and GPA should measure ones intelligence. And factors such as clubs, comunity service and sports teams should meausre ones commintment and character.

  8. Bryan Navarro permalink

    The film showed how various kids approach taking the SAT and the way the film presented the information gave me the impression that the SAT is not a fair or accurate way to judge the intelligence and potential of students academically. The kids in the movie all came from different backgrounds from the white girl who went to a top private school and received one on one tutoring, to the boy who worked to help support his family and had very little resources to help him study. The unfairness of the SAT is in the steps that are available for preparing to take the test. What I mean is that the rich families are able to pay for SAT review books, classes, and tutors that cost too much for many families to afford. This creates unfairness from the beginning. From seeing the story of each of these kids preparing for the SAT I realized that the test sometimes is not an accurate measurement of the capabilities that kids have. There are too many other factors that play into making an individual successful college material to base all of the decision on one test. Even in the film they said the SAT is not so much a measurement of intelligence but more a measurement on how well someone is able to take tests in general. So then why do top Universities base so much of their admittance decision off of the SAT? Good question and I don’t have the answer.

    What I do know is that your admittance essay is weighted very heavily in the decision making process. So if someone doesn’t get the score they wanted on the SAT they have the chance to prove themselves worthy of college in their essay. Other alternatives include taking the ACT, which proves to be a lot easier to some students than the SAT. The kids in the movie seemed to think that the SAT is the one and only way to get into college, which is completely wrong. Everyone’s minds work a little differently and that is why most Universities use the SAT, ACT, and series of other ways to judge ones capabilities. I believe that the SAT should continue to be used because for the students who score well it proves to be an accurate measure of their skills, but for others not so much, and in that case maybe the ACT is a better measure of intelligence for them.

  9. Abran Grajeda permalink

    The Standardized Aptitude Test is a big factor when colleges are deciding admissions. After watching the documentary on the secretes of SAT’s, I believe it’s more difficult to perform well on the SAT’s if you come from a low-income family than if you come from a high-income family. Doing poorly on the SAT’s lowers your chances of getting accepted to a college you really want to go to. The students that come from high-income families have money to pay for really expensive SAT prep course classes, which helps them better prepare themselves for the test. This gives them a leg up on the low-income students whose families can’t afford to pay for these kinds of course. Most low-income students are minorities that come from poor neighborhoods; as a result the education system is also really poor. These education systems don’t offer advance placement classes that would improve minorities’ SAT’s scores and chances of getting into college. There have been studies done that show minorities are under stereotype threat when taking the SAT’s causing their scores to go down. Most of the students affected by stereotype threat are high achieving students. The SAT’s were made to be fair for all students but it seems unfair for students coming from low-income families. I believe if colleges want to diversify their student body they must not continue to use the SAT as a factor when deciding admissions. Instead colleges should look at the student’s success throughout their high school career this would give a better indication on how successful a student well be in college. Isn’t that the reason why we come to college to be successful?

  10. Madison Magliocca permalink

    As a first generation college student, I didn’t know much about the SAT’s or how they worked. When I got my scores back they weren’t terrible, but I felt dumb because I thought it measured your intelligence. But after watching the film I realized that it tests your ability of “test taking” and colleges use it in order to determine what your first year’s grades will be. My test scores were nothing to brag about, but my college grades are something that I am proud of because I continue to maintain a high GPA. I personally do not think that my SAT scores reflect my overall GPA right now, so I don’t think colleges should use it as a determining factor in their acceptance.

    I think the original intentions of the standardized tests were good. They wanted to make sure that industries weren’t dominated by only wealthy families and that people could truly earn their way to merit. However, people who have the benefit of money are once again able to buy their way to the top. Families can pay for their children to take SAT prep courses; these may not have a huge impact on their test scores, but it does increase the student’s confidence which has been proven to have a huge impact on how the student performs.

    I think colleges should look more so at GPA, the types of classes they took, background, and just the overall person as an individual. I would think that universities would want students who have shown that they are hard working and successful without having additional that only money can. What is disappointing is the fact that high school students work so hard in high school by taking honors classes, AP classes, being involved in sports and clubs, get good grades; yet all of that can be ruined by a low SAT score. I don’t think 4 years of hard work and dedication should be wiped away because of one test.

    There are so many factors that can affect an individual SAT scores, and because of how diverse everyone is, I don’t think one test should be used to determine our “readiness” for college. Someone who paid thousands of dollars for an SAT prep course could be less prepared for college than a student who took a full load of AP classes in addition to being involved in the school. Which student is truly more dedicated to their work and more likely to succeed in the college setting?

    • Aaron Kring permalink

      Madison,
      I totally agree with you that there are many factors that contribute to an individuals SAT scores. I also agree that it is not a strong gauge of how ready a person is for college. I believe that there are a lot of factors that go into being a college student and trying to determine that from an application is a difficult process. I do have to let you know that I have seen the SAT prep courses make leaps and bounds on people’s scores. I think it adds to the fact that the wealthier kids can be able to get higher scores on the test. To answer the question you present at the end, I believe that the more ready student is that who took a higher work load and scored well in AP classes. This is because the SAT does not test readiness, it is just a test that does not resemble any test that is taken in college.

    • Madison, I agree with you completely, schools should look more at the classes you took, and the environment you came from rather than the SAT. I believe the SAT should still be looked at, but not as the sole determining factor for admissions. As a transfer student I did not take the SAT, at the time I did not see a need to take the SAT. Looking back I wished I would have taken it but purely out of curiosity to see what I could have scored. I find it fascinating to see how competitive it really is because I was guaranteed admission as a transfer student. To me unless you know what you want to do, it almost is a waste of money to go to a university your first two years. But that is just my opinion, and I can see some advantages of not waiting as well. It seems to me that some people get so wrapped up in the importance of getting into a school right away that they forget about the other options that there are to getting there.

  11. Gretchen Worley permalink

    After watching this film on the SATs last Friday in class, I don’t think that the SAT should be continued. Although, it is another way to test whether or not a high school student should be admitted into a University, it does not accurately portray their intelligence level or how well they will do in college. For example, some people are naturally better at test taking or don’t have as much pressure from their peers and parents to receive a certain score. Thus, I don’t believe that those who struggle with tests should be punished for their inability to receive a high enough score based on one test. In addition, women and minorities have extra pressure in taking the SAT compared to that of a white male taking the test because they fear failure and feel the need to prove themselves to society. Not to mention, high school students all over the country are putting unnecessary pressure and expectations on themselves over just one silly test. For instance, parents are forcing their kids to do intense tutoring sessions and buying multiple SAT books just to prepare them. Therefore, I don’t think that the SAT is worth all of this stress and I also don’t believe that it is an indication of whether or not a certain student should be admitted into a University. As an alternative, I think that Universities should just look at the students GPA, their extracurricular activities, sports they were involved in and how well-rounded of a person they are. This would help get rid of all the hype surrounded by the SAT and would be a much more successful way to admit students into Universities.

  12. Aaron Kring permalink

    The SAT and other standardized tests are one of a few main indicators for colleges to select and accept students who apply to their school. I find the whole standardized test system as a joke for a couple reasons. First, I find that the test being outside of school, not incorporated into the learning process, and being able to pay for either a book or class that can “teach” a student how to pass the examination brings up a plethora of issues. Pertaining to this class in general, how do both the economics and the social discrepancies of some races, cultures and areas may or may not allow a person to take this specific class. I have seen first hand how the class can help in a tremendous way, the valedictorian of my high school and scored a 2350. The movie on Friday described how the SAT is a gauge of one’s overall ability to take a test. The problem I find in that idea is why would colleges want students who are strong test takers? Aren’t colleges suppose to get kids who will represent them well in the work force, students who will go out in the world and bring more prestige to their respected college. This brings me to my next point, with the fact that you can practically pay to get a higher score on the SAT, colleges should move toward a system of selecting students that does is not based solely on those standardized tests. I find Grade Point Average and extracurricular activities to show the character and work ethic of an incoming student. In addition to that, the types of classes that a student takes should also be a strong indicator of how a person works. Strong grades in AP/ Running Start classes and respective tests are stronger indications then a standardized test. If a student has the opportunity to take said classes they deserve the opportunity to work hard and create their path and be successful. The last point I intend to make is that the SAT is unlike any test taken in college, with exceptions to test such as the LSAT, not many exams allow students to decide which question to answer and which questions to skip in order to get a better score. Tests are suppose to gauge the retention of knowledge and allow students to apply concepts by themselves. The standardized test prep guides and classes teach a student how to take the SAT, learning how to take a certain kind of exam. There is no real learning in that process which I find bothersome. The standardized test system should still be used as a way that people are accepted into higher education.

  13. Alexandra Wilson permalink

    After watching the film on the SAT I have come to the conclusion that this standardized tests has both pros and cons. I understand the purpose for creating the test has good intentions of having a fair way to measure students academically nationwide. Although there are many flaws which make me come to the conclusion that the SAT shouldn’t be such a big factor in college acceptance. The SAT is favored to those whom are privileged. Those students whom can afford to take SAT prep courses are at a much bigger advantaged than those who don’t have the money to afford programs such as Kaplan and the Princeton review. But adding 100-150 more points from taking these coarse the test isn’t measuring knowledge, its measuring the ability on how to take this particular test. As you can see from the video where they followed various students from all over California on their journey to get admitted to UC Berkeley, all of those who have come from less money, had significantly lower SAT scores compared to those who could afford the coarse. From personal experience the first time I took the SAT I didn’t perform very well. I then took a five month long prep course with an instructor through Kaplan and then performed significantly better. The test isn’t fair as you can see, no prep time should be allowed if they really want to measure knowledge. Everyone should take the test purely based on everything they learned up to high school. With that being said, for college to admit students they should focus more heavily on other factors besides the SAT. These should include the course load to student has taken throughout high school, especially AP and IB classes. Also one’s involvement in the school and community such as, clubs, sports, jobs and community service. I believe these factors say a lot more about one’s character and work ethic rather than an SAT score.

  14. Megan Grichel permalink

    I think the idea of standardized testing is good, but it does not always give an accurate representation of the student. It makes sense that universities would want a test that could be easily compared amongst applicants. In theory it is a way to compare academic ability without interference from social or economic conditions. An “A” in biology does not necessarily mean the same thing at every school because there are many factors that could influence a student’s grade.
    But as the video said tests such as the SAT are not exactly accurate representations of a student’s academic ability, it is more of a display of test taking abilities. Student who have the money or resources to take test preparation classes or have a tutor to prepare them have an advantage over students who cannot afford such help. Some of the students interviewed in the movie were able to take preparation classes and others were not. This reflected in some of their scores. The video showed some very young student already starting to prepare for their SATs in a class that costs $500(?) a year for several years.
    Personally I think there are many factors that should be considered when review applicants for admission to college. I don’t think SATs should carry as much weight as they sometimes do. If a student has test anxiety that does not mean they can’t become a skilled engineer or if they can’t afford to take their SATs multiple times, has no affect on how successful they could potentially be one day.

    • Racharlle (Landa) Mendoza permalink

      Oh gosh, I completely agree with you. Especially the last paragraph about how you personally feel about the factors that are considered for admission into college. I’ve always thought that it was unfair for universities to put SOOOO much weight on their decision regarding the SAT. In the video we watched in class, they stated that the SAT is more based on “how you take tests” than how smart you are in the subjects they test you on. I think this is completely ridiculous and unfair! Do you think the same? I suck at just tests in general, and I am only good at tests where I study study study like crazzzzzy until I know the material really well! Last but not least, I agree 100% with this statement: “If a student has test anxiety that does not mean they can’t become a skilled engineer or if they can’t afford to take their SATs multiple times, has no affect on how successful they could potentially be one day.”

      • Megan Grichel permalink

        Exactly! These standardized tests are not doing what they were intended to do. If anything they are making the affects of income and race more apparent.

  15. Tucker Creek permalink

    Like many have said before, the idea and intentions when the SAT was first institutionalized were good. However, it does not give a better idea on how intelligent a student really is. A student can go through high school receiving all A’s or very good grades and come to the SAT and get a bad score either because they felt the pressure or find it more difficult to take a test on multiple subjects. Also, the fact that there are books you can buy that help you pass the test by telling what kind of questions and what were on previous tests is a problem in showing that the test necessarily is not all about what the student actually knows. Also the fact that it is timed and students most of the time do not have enough time to finish adds to the stress, I feel like students worry more about finishing on time rather than if they got the answers correct. Colleges should focus more on the students high school grades and GPA and not care as much about a test that covers multiple subjects and is timed so students may not answer all questions. If I were a college admissions officer I would care less about the students SAT score and more of what he did in high school, what his grades were, how many AP/IB classes he took, and how good of a high school it is recognized as. I do not think the SAT is going to change or going to be replaced anytime soon by colleges but it should definitely be looked into so that it can be improved and provide a more accurate showing of a student’s abilities.

  16. Grant Schultz permalink

    The issue of the SAT has quickly turned into to a highly debatable issue. No one questions that the original intention of the SAT was good though many people wonder if it is still helping students reach these colleges. At first the SAT were set up to give under privilege children a chance to be admitted to some of the nation’s most prestigious school. At first this goal was reached though now a days it seems like these goal has started to get away from us. Today prepping for the SAT is a multi-million dollar business that many companies have made a fortune on. This expenses prepping for the SAT has been mostly used by the rich to give their children every opportunity to succeed in the real world. Many people have brought up the argument that the SAT have not really helped make prestigious colleges more diverse, though I do not agree with these individuals. I think the SAT is an effective way to give a colleges a great way to compare students from across the nation. To the issue that SAT has given the rich even more of an advantage, I just find as an excuse. According to the video that we watched there is much debate if these prep classes even help the scores of individuals. If there is not clear evidence that this is helping someone then how can we make the claim that this process is hurting other individuals?

    The SAT also does have some implications that affect certain types of racial groups. Now this has also received much criticism, though I find very little reason for criticism. The video brought up the point that if Asians feel like they are supposed to do better on the test they seem to under preform. What I don’t understand is how a certain group can feel pressured to perform on one test but not all the other test they have to take in school. Also in the “real world” an individual is going to feel pressure and they are going to be expected to perform in a certain way. If nothing else this is just training for the part of our life that is after college.

    • Sarah Eystad permalink

      I agree that the SAT is not an accurate representation of one’s readiness for college. And it was clear in the film that merit sometimes goes out the door in admissions to colleges and universities. It would be nice and dandy if admissions really did consider the SAT scores as a miniscule factor in their decisions, but that’s just not the case. And the complexity of the test itself goes deeper; students stress way too much about one number, because it is placed so highly in determining their future. And race plays a role not only in admissions (as the admission board in the film admitted, despite prop 209) but it also leads to issues involving stereotype threat. Despite the claims made in the film that “it is only a small part of the decision,” the score is still considered. And the fact is that students will never know how much weight it will have. How can they not worry and obsess over this test when it is made out to be such a huge deal?

  17. Grant: Stereotype threat is real and manifest itself in all contexts; that doesn’t provide the veracity of the test but instead qualifies the value of all texts/GPAs, etc. Also, as we will talk about in class, the questions themselves hold biases in how questions are selected

  18. Anna Chrisman 11143058 permalink

    The SAT is just one of the hoops you have to jump through if you want to go to college. I think that if you know how the test works you will do better in it, so it is really a measure of “test taking”. In my personal experience, I took the SAT once and had an average score, then my parents bought me a online class that showed you how to take it and I scored much better the next year. It definitely isn’t the best way for colleges to choose who goes there.

    Also, there are many reasons that someone could do poorly on the SAT and still be a great college student. They may have not had the classes offered at their high school required for the SAT, they may not have to resources to train for the SAT, they may be predisposed to doing poorly, have test anxiety, or any range of factors.

    I went to a tiny high school with 76 students (7th to 12th grades) and we had pretty much no resources for the SAT. Our high school was among some of the lowest scoring and lowest number of kids who took it. Only about half of the students even planned on going to college and therefore took the SAT. I think that being in this environment almost certainly put me at a disadvantage. I had no biology or pre calc background going into the test and the other skills I had acquired in high school were nearly nonexistent. So, naturally I was nervous about applying to college and not knowing anything. I believe this may be similar for kids of color with less resources or people of a much less income.

    I do not think that the SAT is a good measure of how good of a student you will be at all. I have done pretty well in college so far despite my fairly low score. I think that it is always difficult to apply anything standardized to such a large population of people and expect it to work for everybody. Obviously colleges have to use something to filter out applicants, but I don’t know if a standardized test is the best way to go. It is so hard because you could make the same argument for GPA, attendance, and pretty much anything. Someone is always going to be at a disadvantage whether it is a certain race, income level, or much resources you have.

  19. Katie Nelson permalink

    After watching the film from class on Friday, I am now certain that the SAT, and other standardized tests for this matter, are not suitable instruments for grading and evaluating students’ knowledge and abilities. I know I personally hated the SAT and ACT in high school and participated in all the prep classes; I even had a personal tutor for each test that helped prepare me for the awkward and foreign format of the test. At the time I didn’t really understand the extremities of this unjust system, but after watching that video it only cleared up my perceptions about it.

    The fact that my parents paid for two tutors just to prepare myself for what the graders look for is ridiculous. It is obviously flawed if someone has to learn how to take a test in favor of the system to get a better grade. For example, my friend in high school was always a scholar student with straight A’s, but her family couldn’t afford to get her a tutor for the test so she ended up taking the SAT without any prep other than her own brain. We took the same test, same day, same location, and when we compared our scores I ended up getting a better score than her. Although she never admitted it to my face, I knew she was upset because she could have done so much better if she had known what the people grading it look for. My social class in this case left me at an advantage, allowing for me to receive extra help for this test. But this is only an example of how money and class can affect a student’s ability to do well on a test.

    We can also look into race and gender as the video pointed out, and we’ll observe that there are many stereotypes associated with each gender and each race. Some may say that males do better than females on the SAT, but even the video stated that females perform better their first year in college than males – obviously contradicting this stereotype. So if this holds to be true then how can we measure if the SAT is accurately evaluating a student’s knowledge prior to their college career. Race also affects the grade a student might earn on the test. Lets think about the social norms of the current high school generation; each student speaks a different way and uses a variety of different languages and slang, but lets compare that to the people grading these exams. As the video mentioned, the people grading the test are usually in their middle ages and are accustom to different things – leaving little wiggle room for people of different races.

    The SAT, in my opinion, is a poor attempt at evaluating a student’s readiness for college. There should be other things that they take into account as well. To bring up one last example, my brother graduated high school with a GPA of 3.8 and received a 1600 on his SAT; his good friend at the time graduated with a 3.5 and a 1900 on his SAT. When they both heard back from the University of Washington on their acceptance, his friend was admitted but he was not. While there may be other factors to bring into this, this could be a demonstration of how poorly this test examines a student’s abilities.

  20. I believe that the SAT is a tool, but it shouldn’t be the whole picture or even as big of a piece of how prospective student is evaluated for admittance to college. While the SAT is something that is stressful and causes a lot of anxiety in high school students, I think it is good for a student to undergo that kind of stress in a pre-college environment in order to get used to some of the hardships that they will see in college. To have to prepare for hours and figure out how to read a particular teacher and what they are going to want on a test is something that all college students must go through, and the SAT does a good job of determining where a student is at in the process of figuring out how to do that. Learning how to study is something that everyone has to do, because in high school it is a lot easier to procrastinate and skate by then it is in college. As far as the concepts of race, age, and gender pertaining to the SAT I think that these things should not be as important compared to issues of class. It is important for college admissions to look at a student’s background and the hardships they have overcome more so, then how well a person does on a standardized test. If a student is able to overcome significant hardships and maintain an outstanding GPA while simultaneously working and playing sports, that show that they will be able succeed given the opportunity if they are able to focus solely on school.

    • How do you account for stereotype threat, inequalities in terms of test question selection, racial segregation in schools, the value of diversity (racial and ethnic) by just focusing on class?

  21. Colin Findley-Meier permalink

    The initial idea of a standardized test as part of the college selection process is not a bad idea. If every single student had the same opportunities to study for the SAT and all the questions were fair and actually tested knowledge gained in high school and the years before that, then the test would be credible. Unfortunately, as the video showed, this is not the case. I think class is the biggest factor in determining whether or a not a student has the opportunity to receive a high score on the SAT. When I was getting ready to take the SAT I was fortunate enough to have enough money to pay for a prep class. SAT prep classes, at least in my experience, teach students nothing new. All they teach you is how to take this test. Unfortunately I think a lot of high school classes do the same thing. They realize that the SAT is such an important step in many students’ dreams of getting into the college they want, or any college at all. Instead of teaching for the students to gain knowledge, they teach toward this test that students will take three times at most. Also, these tests are geared toward the students who are able to take the prep classes. For example, the question from the video where the test-taker is asked to divide the shaded area of the circle into as many sections as possible. The question is completely irrelevant to anything that should be taught in high school and is just meant to trick those who aren’t able to think their way through it. There should definitely be a way to measure the knowledge level of students but there needs to be a more fair and equal way of doing it.

    • Sarah Eystad permalink

      Even though the SAT system is corrupt in the fact that there are prep courses available to those who can afford it, I’m not so sure this is at the top of my list of things to complain about. These schools that become someone’s “dream school” are the same schools that have high tuition, and seem to seek students with a lot of money, and/or students who are out of state residents. There certainly is value to diversity in schools, but is what kind of “diversity” are they looking for? I know the whole education system is too complex to make such general claims, and there are a lot of factors that go in to admissions; I can’t say I understand all of the politics behind why tuition is so high and why colleges accept the students they do. But it can be agreed upon that it isn’t black and white. It goes beyond merit, beyond GPA, and beyond an SAT score. I agree with Colin that class is one of the biggest factors determining the success on the SAT, and I would like to extend that concept to admissions as a whole. But I would also add that issues of class and race are interlaced and they surface on a multitude of levels.

      • Megan Grichel permalink

        I agree Sarah, in that there is a very big gray area in the admissions process. Diversity does play a huge role at many schools. Even here in Washington, UW and WSU have had changes in their admissions process and some of these changes are associated with race and a possible goal for “diversity” (or possibly opportunities for higher tuition).

  22. Anne Kenney permalink

    I would say that standardized tests are a part of the school experience and that they are a good way to test everyone on an even level, However, I think that if the test is used to test everyone on an even level then there should not be prep courses available that are not available to everyone. In my experience with the SAT and my knowledge of the prep courses available, I would say that not all of the prep course are equal. When I took one through my public school, the teacher talked so fast that I was unable to get all of the information and examples down on paper before we moved on. This was simply becuase the teacher needed to get through a certain amount of information before the end of the two week class. This method was not helpful at all and was almost hurtful in doing the exam when comparing scores to the people who recieved private tutoring, just because they had the money to afford it. Since the SAT is a determining factor in getting in to college, the prep courses if any should be the same for every student who desires to take it regardless of money. If this is not possible, then different standards should be taken in to account, based on how much prep the student was able to afford.

    • Why do you think they are a good way? Is there any way for them to be level?

  23. Hailey Pusich permalink

    After watching the film on Friday, my thoughts on the SAT are that it seems like a lot of pressure and time is put into one test that will “determine” your future. When in reality the test test your ability to take tests according to some critics. I took the SAT twice in high school and while my score did improve the second time I didn’t take any SAT classes to improve my score and I really didn’t spend that much time studying for it because to me it tested your basic knowledge. It wasn’t about specific things I learned in school. I do think colleges and universities should use some sort of test to see what type of student you are but I don’t think it should determine your admittance. I think your actual grades and GPA should what schools should be looking at. I also think that race, class, and gender are all involved with this issue but I guess I never put much thought into that until watching this movie. I think its good school don’t look at those things when reviewing school applications because it is important to have a diverse campus.

    • Alex Loper 11010258 permalink

      You mention that race, class, and gender are all involved with this issue but don’t give any specific examples. How would you say they are involved? Also since gender defies race and class how do you think gender plays a role in this issue? Is the test biased towards one gender? If so, why do you think that is? I also took the SAT twice and my scores increased the second time with no studying or prep work. I agree with you that colleges should be looking at your GPA the most, as this is a more accurate reflection of how well you can do in schoolwork.

  24. I personally think that the Scholastic Aptitude Test helps to encourage the social inequalities that exist in the United States. The performance patterns found in this exam demonstrate how on average individuals coming from upper class households tend to excel past individuals ranked in the lower class. While lower class individuals suffer more adversities and obstacles, societal institutions unfortunately are not structured to acknowledge these factors. In order for a person to gain upward mobility between social classes its important that they obtain an education. However, standardized tests, such as the SAT, restrict some people access to these opportunities. Even without preparation, affluent/wealthy children have a natural advantage because their background allows them to be familiar with the vocabulary and subtle sub-cultural assumptions of the test. Also it doesn’t help that children from wealthy families have the financial stability to provide additional aid when preparing for the exam. All these are among the reasons why social class predicts the rate of college attendance and the type of college chosen. After college, most affluent children get white-collar jobs and most working-class children get blue-collar jobs. These occupations help to formulate very opposing sub-cultures that help to instill this vicious cycle. Ultimately, I think these tests aren’t a reflection of an individual’s efforts and desires to succeed but their financial stability. In the United States, we have this misconstrued logic that everyone has the rights to the same rights and opportunities. We blame the poor for not being successful. However, what they have no understanding of is the ways in which opportunity is not equal in America and how social structure pushes people around, influencing the ideas they hold and the lives they fashion.

  25. Taylor Bertsch permalink

    The SAT’s in my opinion are not the best at representing college level aptitude. To me, the SAT’s are just another bump in the road where money is required. Colleges use the SAT’s to get a general ‘IQ’ reading of those who are applying to schools, but honestly the SAT’s are impractical. This is the problem with standardized tests; standardized tests do not fully evaluate a person. In addition standardized tests are impersonal; they are not all encompassing towards a person’s talents or weaknesses. I understand that colleges require other supplemental information, but to set a minimum SAT score like Berkeley (or any other university in that matter) is a poor evaluation of someone’s character. Basing a person’s future off of a statistic does not seem right to me.

    It is tough to say whether or not if I think that SAT’s are entirely appropriate though. Because if the colleges chose to evaluate SAT scores, rather than the person themselves then I believe it is their own fault for not looking past a number. However I consider myself lucky that I got into the college that I wanted. Had I not I would have been devastated just like anyone else who didn’t do well on the SAT’s. People are so critical on themselves for not doing well on the test though, yet once you are accepted into college your test scores are irrelevant. For example, ten years down the road the 2100 score that you strived so hard to get means squat to the employers that are hiring you. It just seems like unnecessary stress.

    Another problem that I see with the SAT’s pertains to money. Thereby it pertains to race too, as discussed earlier on in the semester; for example African Americans have on average 1/8th of the wealth of whites. The movie elicited that one year of the ‘practice’ SAT orientation cost $500. I could not imagine trying to rack up that much money to spare with a minimum wage job while still in high school. It was hard for my parents to even afford helping me out with the exam. Overall I do not agree with the lessons that the SAT’s have to teach.

    • Katie Beason permalink

      I completely agree that it is important for colleges to evaluate a college applicant on several levels, rather than just based off of a test score. I also agree that the amount of pressure that is put on students to score well on this exam is pointless. Many students stress out and spend hours upon hours preparing and studying for a test that means nothing for them in terms of real life after it has been used to apply for college. Maybe a solution would be to find something that is going to be a useful measurement for students later in life that would be worth the time, money, and stress of millions of students around the country.

  26. Alyssa Rumann permalink

    have very mixed feelings about the SAT. I do think that it’s important to have a universal or standardized test that acts as a gauging point to see where people are at before entering college. However, far too much importance has been placed on this test alone, and there is a heavy imbalance in the importance of scores. It seems as though the intentions of the test have shifted to scoping out the highest scores, and selecting students from the groups that did the best. While that’s a logical thing to do; colleges want the brightest kids they can get, it risks eliminating the potential another student may have for a future in college. These are the kids that get left behind, or have to settle for something else. This is where the issues of class structure, gender, and race tie in. The kids that come from wealthy families are able to afford prep classes or higher education in the first place, meaning they are more likely to do well on the test. The imbalances seen in the classroom transmit to scores on the test. Unfortunately, the SAT has no way of checking the backgrounds, personalities and life stories of all the kids taking it. It only goes off hard, factual data.

    We’ve also been told that “Colleges don’t just look at SAT’s, that’s only part of it.” While this is true to an extent, there’s no denying that the scores are increasingly important, and it IS the first thing a college will look at. Once they examine the scores, then they look at the individual’s applications.

    A side aspect on this subject is that our parents didn’t quite have the same pressures as we do now, simply because getting into college is becoming increasingly competitive. That’s why I believe parents are really hounding their kids to take prep classes for a single test they feel is the one determining factor in their child’s future. While this is important, (most of us would probably lack motivation to work for the test if we didn’t have people pushing us to), there needs to be a level of understanding that this test isn’t everything. When watching the movie in class, I was pretty shocked to see that parents were having their kids move away from home to be near the colleges of choice and study for the test there, or that they were spending hundreds of dollars putting their kids through rigorous classes to ensure the highest test scores. It made me thankful my parents weren’t so obsessed with the SAT’s that they lost sight of the fact that there are other things in life a kid shouldn’t miss out on.

    • Alyssa: You note that the SAT “only goes off hard, factual data” – how are questions selected? How do larger forces impact this process, highlighting its subjected nature?

  27. Daniela Martinez permalink

    After watching the video about the SAT i was really surprised on how serious some parents and even students take it so seriously personally i was like i have to take it because of college admissions but I never really knew that SAT had such a big part of getting into college. For my SAT’s my friend had reminded me the night before. So I was not prepared for it my score was 1350 which I first did not really care about. For the most after watching the video it make sense to me why so many students do take the SAT so seriously because it determines a big part of your future. I could say say one thing is that if I would have prepared for the SAT I might have gotten a better score. The SAT does have so kind income to related correlation to it because if a student has the resources to get SAT prep course it is more likely that, that person might do better on the SAT compared to those that are not taking prep course for SAT. Resources and opportunity has a sometimes determine how well a person might do but it can also not. It all kind of relates back to nature vs nurture.

  28. Katie Beason permalink

    Ever since I was in high school and was forced to take the SAT in order to apply to college, I have never been a fan. Especially after watching this video, it is apparent that it is not a fair representation of a students ability to be successful in a collegiate environment. There are several reasons that, in fact, the SAT misrepresents a students abilities.
    As shown in the video, many students drastically increased their scores by taking an SAT class. This is great preparation, however, these classes can cost anywhere between hundreds to thousands of dollars. This seems odd since the intention behind the SATs was to establish an exam that would eliminate any student advantages, when in fact it is promoting the advantage of students who have to money to afford these classes.
    On another level, these tests do not measure a students effort, which is a main factor on whether or not a student is successful in college. For example, my brother scored 500 points higher than me on the SATs, however, I have almost a whole grade point higher of a GPA in college. This is just another way that the test is not meeting its original intentions.
    I would say that this is not a fair representation, therefore, students should not be required to take these exams to gain entry into college.

    • Karlie Hall permalink

      Katie I completely agree with you in that the SAT is a very poor representation of someones effort and hard work in high school. How can one test summarize the kind of student and how intelligent you really are? The fact that the SAT also sits just as important as your GPA is not fair in the sense in that the SAT is one test taken on one day that colleges feel is on the same level as 4 years of work, exams, and studying. Also, to add on to your point about the SAT being more of an advantage for some students compared to others makes the test unfair and unreliable. As some students can afford classes and books to prepare them for this test, another student may receive the same GPA and be just as intelligent, but because they may not receive the same preparation they can be at a major disadvantage. College admissions should reflect more then the SAT, and should focus on more overall assessments of a students career, such as their GPA.

  29. Kate McNevin permalink

    Learning about why the SAT was started at Harvard was really interesting to me. I think it came from a great place, wanting to give kids who didn’t come from an old money elite background a chance to get educated at a top university. But even more interesting was when the researcher said that he thought the inventor of the test would be really disappointed in how the test has transformed in modern society. All the kids that the film followed really wanted to do well on the SAT, and they thought of it as their only hope to get into college. They spent a lot of time, and if they had it, money preparing for this test that they thought would determine the outcome of their life. In my opinion, the inventor of this test never wanted it to turn into a test that carried so much pressure. Also, the test has completely reverted back to what it was originally trying to avoid. Kids with the most time and money are the kids that have the most resources to do well on the SAT. Kids from low income areas who maybe need to have a job wouldn’t have as much time to dedicate to studying, even if they had the financial resources to do so. It seems like the SAT is totally defeating the purpose of a standardized test: instead of everyone being tested on an equal playing field, kids who have had people point out the trick questions and have learned the best way to take the test are the ones doing well. This test shows who can take the test in the best way, not who is the smartest or who will do the most with their life. During the beginning and middle of the film, I was really disappointed with this realization. This test has become completely unfair.
    When Berkeley delivered the acceptance letters, I was so glad to see some of their choices. I felt like they did a pretty good job of basing their acceptance not solely on the SAT scores. It seemed like they looked at the whole person, not just the number. When the one African American boy who got less than 1000 on his SAT got in, I think I was almost happier than he was. I’m glad the school paid attention to his extracurricular activities as well as his scores and grades.
    After I watched this movie, I think the SAT is important, but shouldn’t be the sole factor when choosing students. I really don’t think there will ever be a way to make a better standardized test. Race, culture, and socioeconomic status will always be a factor. I think what is important is that admission offices look at the each person. Look at their extracurriculars, leadership experiences, job experience, and home life. I have confidence that admission offices will choose as fairly as possible and some people just need to realize that not everyone can get in. Just because you don’t get into a top college doesn’t mean you will not be successful. I don’t think there will ever be a flawless admissions process, because people are always going to get rejected and those people are always going to blame it on Affirmative Action, or their race, or them not having enough resources because of their race. At some point I think people just need to realize that life will never be completely fair, and one rejection does not equal a bad life.

  30. Rachael Gorrie permalink

    My thoughts on the SAT are that from personal experience and as a naive observer, the SAT is a pretty good measure of how smart you are. The smartest people I knew in High School, regardless of whether or not they took outside SAT prep classes, did extremely well on it. I think that they did well because they were knowledgeable in the subjects that it tests; they were able to use that broad range of information to help them use abstract thinking to answer questions, which is what we want students to be able to do, and what we should expect students to be able to do if they have actually MASTERED the material. I know for myself, that even if I know a subject, say math, backwards and forwards, I am able to answer questions in any format. I FEEL like the SAT is a good measure of success and knowledge in certain subject matter, BUT, taking race, class and gender into consideration, I realize that my instant response to a question like, “Should we use the SAT in universities and colleges” gets complicated. Especially when factors like if students are good test takers also comes into play.

    That being said, after watching this video and again, combining personal experience, I feel that the SAT is obviously written in a way that discriminates against people. I believe that they should still use a standardized test to measure what students have learned but I think that the way the questions are written should be changed. If a student is not able to perform as well as another student because of their race, the test should be changed. It is clear that minorities especially working-class blacks and Latinos, have been dealt a bad hand. The preparatory classes that teach students how to answer these specially designed questions are extremely expensive. Having taken these classes I do feel like it was because of my privilege that I was able to afford a class like that and do better on the SAT than other minorities and student’s who parents might have a lower income. In addition to teaching me how to interpret and understand the SAT I was able to revisit subjects like grammar, that I know MANY students, have trouble with, due to the fact that the last time they went over it was in elementary school. This added advantage shows how race and class can affect students’ ability to do well on the SAT and get into colleges that almost guarantee success in the future and decrease the disparities in education.

    Gender was also another factor that I was enlightened on in this video because I now see the implications of something like stereotype threat in a test setting. If universities and colleges continue to use the SAT as what they believe to be an accurate measure of knowledge and future academic success, the consequences for minorities, the lower-class, and women, could prove to be promoting and stoking the fire of inequality in their future lives.

  31. Bryce Jackson permalink

    After watching the video about the SAT i was really surprised on how serious some parents and even students take it so seriously. I know I personally didn’t take it seriously because I heard it was easy. I knew I just had to get a good score for my college admissions but I never really knew that SAT had such a big part of getting into college. I was not ever prepared for the SAT I always had a baseball game the day before or after so I was so focused on baseball than score. I got a 1500 which I first did not really care about because I knew that got me into college. But when watching the video it make sense why so many students and parents do take the SAT so seriously because it determines which college your going to get into and also some of your future. I think if I would of studied and took the SAT a little bit more seriously I might have gotten a better score. The SAT does have so kind income to related correlation to it because if a student has the resources to get SAT prep course it is more likely that, that person might do better on the SAT. It could be that the student has more resources such as smart rich parents. It sometimes determine how well a person might do because of the parents helping with school explaining things. Gender and stereotypes also have a part in different views of the SAT’s.

  32. Laurel Mahnke permalink

    The film about the SAT focused on students to get into prestigious schools and I was reading the responses to this post many people said they did not realize the seriousness of the SAT. I think this is interesting to consider because I remember looking into colleges on collegeboard.com and it showed median gpa, SAT score and many other stats about the students at different universities. I knew I wanted to go to WSU so I just spent time looking at notable colleges just to see. The median SAT score got higher as the percentage of applicants accepted went down. This shows how elitist institutions judge potential students. WSU does not happen to be a university with a great amount of prestige nationally and it is interesting to see how students react to the film. Obviously it is unfair to judge students based on one four hour test. The premise is sound though that all students take the same test but the way advantages are distributed brings socioeconomic status into play. The film makes a good point about how income disproportionately benefits wealthy white students, but I would interested to see how elite institutions way school rankings. High schools in different areas provide different levels of educational advantage. Overall, I think the film brings up a good point about wealth disparity and higher education, but I think there are many factors beside the SAT that illustrate how the college selection process is unfair.

  33. Andrea Grade permalink

    I don’t see standardized tests as a “good way” to judge student’s intelligence levels. I feel like colleges should have eradicated this section admissions a long time ago. However, the SATs, the preparation for them, the classes you can take in high school for the SATs and even the test itself has become such a large part of our lives that it would be difficult to just stop the test all together. There is so much pressure to do well it’s outrageous. We hear in high school “Oh he/she got this high score on the SAT” and we immediately think that person must be a genius, however, the speaker in the SAT video even said that it is a way to test how well you are a taking tests. I think almost every person can say they know a fairly intelligent person who did not do well on the tests. However, if the general consensus is that the test does not measure intelligence, why do these ‘prestigious’ colleges still put so much pressure on high scores?
    I do not think that colleges should continue them. I think that GPA, admissions essays and lists and descriptions of extracurricular activities says quite a lot about a person rather than a four digit number from a standardized tests. Why should there be standardized tests when there is no such thing as a ‘standardized’ person? Aren’t colleges looking for diversity? In not only race or ethnicity, but in the way that students view the world.

  34. Karlie Hall permalink

    The SAT is a scary concept for every high school junior in that they know that much of their future and college acceptance can be based on this one exam. I know that from personal experience I was overwhelmed and terrified of this one standard based test in that it could possibly go against and counteract all my hard work I have done in order to get a high GPA in high school. The SAT I feel is a poor test of a high school kids intelligence in that it poorly can reflect how smart a student actually is. One point I would like to touch on about the SAT’s is the fact that guessing or choosing the wrong answer, deducts more points then leaving the question blank. Although they may think that this overall is more reliable in that it prevents students from guessing, I believe it psychs students out and second guess their own answers. I know from personal experience, I choose not to answer questions in which I thought could be the answer because I was more scared about loosing more points for possibly getting it wrong. So how is this test getting an accurate summary of our overall knowledge if we are not even answering all of the questions?
    The SAT is seen as a very serious and influential test for many students and their parents as though many colleges look at your score and compare and judge them to other applicants. I feel as though a GPA is a much greater indication on a students dedication, hard work, and intelligence in that it shows their progression and record for 4 years of high school, and not just one test taken in a one day session. Although many students study day in and day out for the SAT and take multiple classes and read up on several SAT books, not everyone has that advantage and are not given the same opportunities. I think that if they were going to give a standardize test that can test a range of academic abilities everyone should be offered and given the same amount of opportunities. All in all I understand the reasons for the SAT and how they wanted to provide a way to create a standardize test in that other colleges can look at with admission of students to their schools, I feel though they need to evaluate the standards of the test and make the test as though it is fair and equal for everyone who takes it.

  35. Patrick O'Callaghan permalink

    I’ve never thought of the SAT as a measurement of privilege, however, after watching the documentary in class on the inequalities of the SAT, I’m inclined to change my mind. There are several legitimate factors that play into the lack of fairness for this life-altering test. First, there is the very real pressure of stereotype threat. The film discussed studies done where a black student and a white student or a white student and an Asian student where given a test and told things such as, “Black students don’t tend to do well on this exam,” or “Asian students usually get the best results from this test.” Almost every time, the student who was under pressure from the stereotype threat did worse on the exam than the control group did. Other factors that lead to skewed data from test results include the greater advantages rich kids (usually white) have over other, poorer students (often minorities) in high school. These advantages include availability of AP classes, more favorable teacher-to-student ratios at private schools, and the ability to purchase tutoring or SAT prep classes. The fact that such a difference can be found in the advantages or disadvantages some students have on the SAT is somewhat astonishing. The film portrayed the SAT as one of the most looked at criteria by University representatives, and although they also take special circumstances and personal essays into consideration, it seems unfair to put such an emphasis on the SAT, when not everyone has an equal footing on it, to begin with.

  36. Susan Decker permalink

    After watching the documentary on the SAT I believe that the weight the SAT has on college admissions is much to high. Success on the SAT involves several different factors unrelated to intelligence. Equal opportunity is certainly not seen with the results of the SAT’s. Students in lower socioeconomic families for example are less likely to do well on the exam because of things such as stereotype threat where students are under the assumption that they are expected to do poorly on the exam compared to someone of a higher socioeconomic status and therefore do. Another factor working against these students is the fact that their schools are often not funded well enough to adequately prepare them for the SAT. The biggest factor however, is that SAT prep classes are offered for a pretty sum of course. Students of a higher socioeconomic status are more likely to be in those prep classes because they and their parents are able to afford them. Poorer students however, cannot afford them and therefore do not get the same preparation that their counterparts do. That said, I think that schools and universities should continue to use the SAT because I think that it prepares students for the higher education they are seeking. However, I don’t think it should be considered to such a high degree when deciding on a student’s admission to the school. Universities should be focusing more on a student’s success in school and their extracurricular activities rather than a standardized test. Standardized tests are being used throughout a student’s life now and have little positive effect on them.

    • Patrick O'Callaghan permalink

      good points, but don’t you think that you could say many of the same things by only looking at extracurricular activities and success in school? there are a lot of other things that in some says ignore privilege (unlike the SATs) and in other ways really bring it to light. a students story and extenuating circumstances may show that they have really struggled and deserve a spot in the university.

  37. Alex Loper 11010258 permalink

    When the SAT was first created, it was created with good intentions. It allowed Ivy League schools another method of choosing which students could attend their college. It also gave students who didn’t come from a wealthy background the option to attend college, putting an end to the rich upper class dominating the industrial world. Overall it was a great idea that might have fixed many issues in our society.

    However, since then the SAT has mutated in to something else entirely unrecognizable. It is used no longer to give poor students the opportunity of higher education but instead creates a needless barrier in being accepted in to a college. Families spend tons of money on prepping their children for the SAT every year so that they can have even a chance at attending a college of their choice. It has ironically made it even more difficult for poor students to attend college since they are trying to compete with rich students who have spent money on preparing themselves for the exam.

    The SAT is supposed to be a measurement of how well a student will do in their first year of college. However, the movie shows that this is not necessarily the case. So if it doesn’t measure first year success, what does it measure? If it tries to measure intelligence, it is a useless test because an IQ test is much more accurate for measuring intelligence. I can say from personal experience that I scored an above average score on the SAT and still did poorly my first year of college. The SAT has become an outdated methodology for selection of students and either needs a massive revision or should simply be thrown out altogether.

  38. Logan Mayes permalink

    To say that the SAT is an accurate predictor of college success is ludicrus, however while it is flawed I dont think its any less flawed than other leading indicators. The SAT seems to me like more of an indicator of test taking abailities as well as thinking under pressure. I know many individuals that are talented students and performed very well on the SAT, but are also undisciplined as a result performed badly their freshman years. People often argue the SAT is flawed, which i do not disagree with, however is this any less flawed than grades, which minorities also have worse of on average. Many poor minorities do not have time to participate in extra-curricular activities when they have to get jobs to help the family. All these are biased against minorities which is unfortunate, however in all reality they are going to college so they can work in a white man’s world. So ultimately I think the test plays an effective role in a great American tragedy.

  39. Alex Vo permalink

    I believe that the SAT is a test that is somewhat an acceptable form of testing and was most likely created with the greatest intentions. The test was created as a way to evaluate incoming freshmen intelligence and ability to succeed at the next level. As far as I can tell, the SAT doesn’t do too bad a job. Yes, there are flaws. Such as the fact that students of certain races do better than others. There is the notion that the test is written to cater to students that grow up in white, wealthy communities. It is not that the test is racist, it just presents economic inequalities. The basis for this is that wealthier kids tend to attend grade schools that have better teachers and materials. This also includes the idea that wealthy children are more likely to attend expensive SAT prep courses. The idea is that the SAT tests whether or not children come from wealthy backgrounds and can afford getting coached. Now I believe that this is partially true, as wealth will always present more opportunities. However, despite all of its flaws the SAT is fairly acceptable. How else are universities supposed to evaluate applicants? Yes, there are students that receive lower SAT scores, yet are still successful once they get to college. There is no way any standardize test can measure not only intelligence, but also work ethic and drive. Admissions cannot just base their decisions solely on essays, because then critics would go crazy. Most of the time, and essay reveals some insight into the writer’s cultural background. I believe that universities should continue to use the SAT when evaluating future students. Even though it has many flaws, as of right now there is no other viable alternative. There will always be many differences in scores and college admissions as long as there is economic inequality. Racial and economical inequalities go hand in hand. I truly do hope, however, that this will change and a new form of evaluation can be used.

  40. Connor McGee permalink

    I am personally against the SAT. As mentioned in class, concepts such as stereotypes can interfere with the test scores of anyone who is aware of them. The SAT does not accurately measure anyone’s intelligence, but rather how they take tests to some extent. Even that is flawed, however, because there are a lot of different factors that come into play when one takes a test. A family member could have recently died, they could be stressed, or they could have not eaten that day.. the list could go on but there are just tons of different factors that impact test taking that it is really not worth it to try to measure anything through tests. Even when I took the SAT I felt that it was unfair and a hugely inaccurate statement of anything I am capable of… for example most of the information on it I had not been taught at the schools I went to, so I had to do a lot of guessing and didn’t do nearly as well as I would have if the information had been material I had actually learned about or been taught. Despite the well intentioned makers of the test, I still believe it is not accurate and really does nothing helpful. Tests can also be biased towards minorities based on stereotypes.. such as asian people being “smart”. Overall, I do not believe the SAT does anything outstanding. Grades and/or student involvement would be much better ways to predict how a student will do in the future or to judge them on. Tests are not the answer.

  41. Gary Barquet permalink

    My initial thoughts on the SAT would have never been that it was made intended to give a disadvantage to minorities. It doesn’t seem fair for colleges to even judge from SAT scores considering all of the advantages and disadvantages that have to do with financial situation. Minorities have a lower class overall and this helps lead to SAT failure When a family is more wealthy a child is more likely to go to a better school instead of a dropout factory and even possibly attend expensive SAT prep courses. A problem I see with colleges not using the SAT for these reasons is that minorities with wealthy families perform about the same levels as whites. The only problem with that is there’re more wealthy whites by a landslide. The SAT isn’t always colleges main concern when looking into the acceptance of a student so I think that the SAT should still be apart of colleges acceptance process.

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