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zenitspb25
Posts: 25

Eugenics and the SATs

I personally think that the SATs and College Board nowadays are a bit of a sham - the fact that one company could determine the future of most students and high schoolers in America still blows me away. College Board practically holds a monopoly on the testing industry while also being a "not-for-profit", despite the fact that they make millions off students (and let's be real, it does not take 100 dollars to print one AP test). Although the majority of students in America takes the SATs, which I think is a merit since it helps with uniformity in determining a baseline, I think it is also the problem. Students come from various backgrounds and the SAT can't take into account students that may come from poor-income neighbourhoods that do not have a leg up in comparison to other students that may have SAT prep classes, books, or programs. However, I find its intentions, to open up universities and colleges to all based on merit instead of family status, admiring, considering the context of the US then, where colleges were primarily dominated by uninterested wealthy white boys. The original goal of a "truly universal educational opportunity at every level" is one that still should be strived today.

A link between the eugenics movement and the testing industry could be seen in the obsession with IQ and intelligence. If a person scored low on an intelligence or IQ test, they would be considered challenged, and furthermore according to The Bell Curve, should be herded off into a reservation to rot. Carl Brigham when he created the SATs also made a conversion chart for SAT scores to intelligence tests scores. Chauncey and Conant were also interested in forming a new and more "natural" aristocracy, in which the members were virtuous, talented, smarter, and selected based on merit. This mirrors the eugenics movement in sorts because both were trying to improve (in their own image) society via certain methods of science and seeks to capitalise on human's dreams of an idealised utopia.

I agree with Gladwell, correlating IQ and race is misleading. People are ultimately shaped more by their environment and surroundings than by what they were born as, as shown with Asians, who supposedly have lesser IQs but technically "overachieve" due to their environment of constantly striving and pushing for professional success. Similarly, as Flynn pointed out during the debate in the article, the IQ of black people were lower not because they are black but rather of the social environment they were more likely to be in, a single parent home, which supposedly are "less cognitively complex" than a two-parent home. On a slightly off-topic note, the fact that IQ fundamentalists were taken a bit seriously in 2007 still shows how eugenics still left a mark on current day 21st-century society.

One question I would like to pose is that in the article The Structure of Success in America, Carl Brigham noted that he eventually moved away from his original position on intelligence, denounced the spread of the SATs, and predicted a bleak future for America if it continued - "the very creation of powerful machinery to do more widely those things that are now being done badly will stifle research, discourage new developments, and establish existing methods, and even existing tests, as the correct ones." Do you think that his predictions hold some truths to it?

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zenitspb25
Posts: 25

Originally posted by Orange Juice on November 13, 2018 22:30

Question: Is there a way to test intelligence? Do we have to test it?

I think there should be a system in place in order to differentiate students and have them enroll into colleges suited for them, but I don't think measuring intelligence is the right path to go. Is it even possible to measure intelligence?

I don't think it's ever possible to ever measure intelligence and we shouldn't test for it. Intelligence varies from person to person, such as one may be smarter or better in the arts but not maths and vice versa. How does one even define intelligence? What's the point of testing for something that we cannot even clearly define? Many exams just test the test-takers ability to retain knowledge rather than actually understanding or comprehend it. Access to knowledge and education also varies from region to region. A poor child in a third world country might not have the same access to books and educational resources as a child of a business leader in Europe for example. Just by announcing the result of a test of a student one may already shape and change their expectations and goals perhaps unnecessarily.

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Latin'sLiability
Posts: 27

Intelligence tests, the SATs and their links to Eugenics

To begin, I would like to say that I believe we are not the victims of SAT. I say this because we submit to such a test, nobody forces us to take it. We feed into the system and we do it willingly, pretending like we don't is hypocrisy at its finest. There are obvious problems with the SAT, such as the fact that it does not provide an equal opportunity to everyone who takes it to showcase their intelligence. Nevertheless it provides students with an opportunity to showcase their intelligence that isn't just their grades, which may not be too good. For example one may have low grades, however, they score well on the SAT. Having low grades shouldn't dictate wether or not you go to college, and in some cases like this the SAT helps. In my opinion tests in general are a botched way of measuring understanding and intelligence, and all education nowadays especially high school, is based of student's ability to preform well on tests. We act like if you get an A or B on a test you fully understand the material and are now free to move on with your life. But those who get a failing grade must not know anything on the subject, even if the concepts they did grasp just weren't on the test. Regardless of your score though both students "move on", and one continues to receive high marks, while the other continues to fail, one is praised while the other receives no help or support.

I believe that eugenic thinking is much more systematic than we realize. It is seen openly through the way we take tests, since the testing system is set up in a way where people get to decide who is "bright" based on a few numbers, and then those bright people are therefor better than those who are "less bright." Then those of decided intelligence are made to continue succeeding, while those who have been "proven" (as eugenicists tired to do) to be dumber are kept dumber and seen as useless. We know that because of Lemann's research that this is not by accident, but rather test are supposed to be this way, to seek out the supposed best and brightest, those who meet specific criteria. Yet it is not only seen In testing though, just yesterday I was told by my friend that two people should only be together if they are on the same "level." So maybe eugenics is more than just some weird experiment supposedly in the past, but in fact is something internalized by many people.

There is obviously a fallacy between linking race and IQ. As I learned from the article, white Americans would give Africans IQ tests then come back with the results that they preformed much lower on said IQ test than Europeans. Yet IQ tests themselves are flawed. Such tests are subjective, obviously if one lives a completely different life than another they will have completely different results. IQ tests were just another way for white people to emphasize the differences between them and others, and say that these differences make anyone who is not like them inferior. Logic of people varies from location to location, and such logic used by one person somewhere may be useless to another person living somewhere else. In my opinion it is completely ridiculous to already have the notion in your mind that you are better than somebody else then subject them to "tests" made for someone with your own thinking, then expect the performance to be just like your own. If roles were reversed the same thing would happen, yet it does not because of white people's superiority complex that is shown throughout history and still today.

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Latin'sLiability
Posts: 27

Originally posted by zenitspb25 on November 13, 2018 23:50

I personally think that the SATs and College Board nowadays are a bit of a sham - the fact that one company could determine the future of most students and high schoolers in America still blows me away. College Board practically holds a monopoly on the testing industry while also being a "not-for-profit", despite the fact that they make millions off students (and let's be real, it does not take 100 dollars to print one AP test). Although the majority of students in America takes the SATs, which I think is a merit since it helps with uniformity in determining a baseline, I think it is also the problem. Students come from various backgrounds and the SAT can't take into account students that may come from poor-income neighbourhoods that do not have a leg up in comparison to other students that may have SAT prep classes, books, or programs. However, I find its intentions, to open up universities and colleges to all based on merit instead of family status, admiring, considering the context of the US then, where colleges were primarily dominated by uninterested wealthy white boys. The original goal of a "truly universal educational opportunity at every level" is one that still should be strived today.

A link between the eugenics movement and the testing industry could be seen in the obsession with IQ and intelligence. If a person scored low on an intelligence or IQ test, they would be considered challenged, and furthermore according to The Bell Curve, should be herded off into a reservation to rot. Carl Brigham when he created the SATs also made a conversion chart for SAT scores to intelligence tests scores. Chauncey and Conant were also interested in forming a new and more "natural" aristocracy, in which the members were virtuous, talented, smarter, and selected based on merit. This mirrors the eugenics movement in sorts because both were trying to improve (in their own image) society via certain methods of science and seeks to capitalise on human's dreams of an idealised utopia.

I agree with Gladwell, correlating IQ and race is misleading. People are ultimately shaped more by their environment and surroundings than by what they were born as, as shown with Asians, who supposedly have lesser IQs but technically "overachieve" due to their environment of constantly striving and pushing for professional success. Similarly, as Flynn pointed out during the debate in the article, the IQ of black people were lower not because they are black but rather of the social environment they were more likely to be in, a single parent home, which supposedly are "less cognitively complex" than a two-parent home. On a slightly off-topic note, the fact that IQ fundamentalists were taken a bit seriously in 2007 still shows how eugenics still left a mark on current day 21st-century society.

One question I would like to pose is that in the article The Structure of Success in America, Carl Brigham noted that he eventually moved away from his original position on intelligence, denounced the spread of the SATs, and predicted a bleak future for America if it continued - "the very creation of powerful machinery to do more widely those things that are now being done badly will stifle research, discourage new developments, and establish existing methods, and even existing tests, as the correct ones." Do you think that his predictions hold some truths to it?

Post your response here.

I completely agree with the fact that there are both good and bad parts of the SAT. It does make it so that more opportunity is open to those with a lower status, yet at the same time like the IQ test it is subjective, in my opinion. One student may never have been prepared for the test in the way a different student has simply because of the lack of recourses. At the same time colleges are very corrupt and it is all an obvious business, but that is just the way things are run. If you want something you've got to give something else up, and if you don't have anything to give up, then you cannot get a higher education.

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Latin'sLiability
Posts: 27

Originally posted by Shelly on November 13, 2018 20:59

Hi all,


After spending many hours reading the articles, I realized that first I needed to start earlier, and second that the SAT is a very flawed system.


The SAT test is a test that is very similar to those of the eugenics movement. They both test very specific things, and neither of them actually highlight a the strengths of a person without some bias. In the intelligence test that we took in class, all of the odds were stacked against us, given we were only allowed a minute and how we did not really know what was missing. In the SAT, people are also given a short amount of time to answer questions that are made to trip people up. None of these tests accurately measure the “smartness” of a person. They more accurately measure how accurately a person can take a quiz, and how many resources that a person has. In standardized tests, people who come from wealthy families and families of people who have taken the test are bound to do better. These know how to prepare for this test, and at the least have the money to hire people that know how to teach children to prepare for the test. Poor people without relatives that took this test do not have these resources, and in the end, they struggle. This system is very flawed, and people nowadays should not be judged on only academic merit. No test can truly test the “smartness” of a person, given most strengths cannot be measured on a scantron. Lemann even stated that, “Shockingly, the researchers found, the relationship between the students' test scores and their level of education was quite weak. Many high school students outscored college students, and more than half of those high school students who did not go on to college tested at a higher level than a quarter of college juniors.” This helps further explain to us as the readers that standardized tests do not measure how smart any one person is.


The eugenics industry was the parent to standardized testing. Eugenics scientists created these tests so that they could quickly and easily measure who was smart and who was or not. Colleges liked this system, since it was a quick and easy way to weed out those who are not “worthy” of going to their college. Colleges want only the smartest children, and they have a sort of eugenics mindset. This then leads them to continue to use these tests with strong roots in eugenics. These links are flawed. This is because the failed system of eugenics is hurting the system of college admissions. The results of one test should not determine how the rest of your life goes.


When Gladwell states, “ I.Q. measures not just the quality of a person’s mind but the quality of the world that person lives in”, he perfectly encompasses the problems with all of the standardized tests of today. There is a great divide between the people who have the resources to go to college and succeed, and those who do not have these resources. When students are able to go to good schools that prepare them for college, they are capable of getting a leg up against other students. When children have parents who went to college, they are capable of getting a leg up against other students. When children take courses that teach them how to get a perfect score on the SAT, they are capable of getting a leg up against other students. All of these three things show that the SAT is less of a test that shows your smartness as much as it is a test that shows your resources. This is exactly what this quote is getting at. In The Great Gatsby Nick Carraway says a quote that explains the system of advantages and testing. He says, “‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’” This quote helps show that the SAT and IQ tests have no business in judging people given nobody has had the same amount of opportunity, and this makes the test biased.


My question to you all is should people be judged even with the varying degrees of resources that people have? Also, If you said no, how should they be judged instead?


Thanks for reading (yes I know that it is pretty long), and please answer my question!


-Shelly

Post your response here.

Honestly I don't think people should be judged at all. But that is not possible with the world we live in, so if it comes down to it people should be judged mostly on a moral standpoint. How good of a person are they, and such. Yet this is also impossible because everyone has different ideals of what exactly that means. Really I think people mindsets are in the wrong place, and that nobody is really more deserving than anyone else, and the system as a whole has failed, but has managed to achieve its purpose. Its purpose of separation and categorizing, deeming one person less than another because of insignificant factors.

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greengrape
Posts: 20

Originally posted by Thomas Aquinas on November 13, 2018 23:22

Finally my question to the class: Is it ever possible to compare intellects amongst different people?

Hi!

This is an interesting questions I’ve been thinking about with this topic of eugenics. My answer is no, I don’t think that we can compare the intellect of all the different people. First off, I think that there are many different types of intelligence. How can knowing complex words or word association be the only form of intelligence. That gets at the questions what is intelligence and what would you measure. There are many different forms of intelligence and I don’t think it can really be measured considering the diverse backgrounds and knowledge that people have

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ilovechocolate
Posts: 36

Originally posted by Spaceman on November 13, 2018 19:15

My question to you all is:

Do you even believe that there is an “intellect” to measure? Do you think these tests are really trying to examine how smart someone is, or are they just grasping at straws? Like, is there even something that you could define as “smartness”/ "being intelligent"? If there is, what is it? How do we begin to "test" for it? Should it even matter?


P.S.

Since the SAT and IQ tests are so closely linked, the fact that you can study for the SAT basically means that you can study for the IQ test, so you can "raise" your intelligence level. Therefore, eugenicists have nothing to base any of their studies on, because someone can change their IQ, so it isn't inherited.

I think intellect is relative. One person could think someone is very smart while a different person could think that same person was relatively dumb. So how can we measure intellect when it is relative? Or when it has about a thousand other factors that account for someones 'smarts'? So yes, this testing is relative, but outcomes can also be shaped by the background, upbringing or 'world' that surrounds a person as they grow up. I think then, it is very hard to measure intelligence when there are many different ways to examine how smart or what kind of smart a person is. We all know the "science/math" kid or the "history/english" kid. If you know a mini-math-Einstein, does being subpar at history disqualify their right of being 'smart'? Is intelligence total or specific?

Sorry to answer questions with questions, but there is not a set answer to these. Thanks for the stimulating questions though!

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C1152GS
Posts: 24

About this SAT thing

Since a very young age, I’ve been exposed to standardized testing from the MEPA, MCAS and now the SAT and APs. I have accepted these tests to be part of the education system and never really challenged them. I always knew that these tests do n’t measure people’s intelligence or how well the students study the material. These tests are aimed at a certain type of student. I think it’s interesting how the Nicholas Lemann article confirmed that fact since the inception of the test. The people who developed the tests knew the flaws since the beginning nevertheless, they were obsessed with creating a way to divide and group society. When the first was first administered high school students scored higher than college students and also across the country students who were not educated in a prep school did not perform well. This highlights that the SAT was aimed at a certain socioeconomic class. Till this day the effects of this test still remain even within the public school system. For example, average SAT scores are disclosed on a school’s report. This is done so that colleges can evaluate a student within a school’s context but it also shows that don’t students perform as well if they come from an underperforming school. Another interesting thing that intrigued me in the Lemann article is the IQ tests given to immigrants. The article later said that the immigrants performed better after a few years in the United States. This fact further proves the point that the current test is not catered for students whose first language is not English. My point is furthered in the Malcolm Gladwell article it demonstrates that a group of people are more disadvantaged when it comes to standardized testing. That’s because these tests are created without diversity and understanding of different groups of people. In the “Great Sorting,” it also shows how these tests do not prepare people for future occupations. Someone who works hard and has the advantages may perform better on the test but it does not dictate how they will perform in all context.

After reading these articles it seems to me that the Eugenics movement did not rely on empirical data.

My question is: Do you think that more schools including the Ivy Leagues should become test-optional or do you think that these tests are necessary? If so how can it be remedied to even the playing field for all parties involved?

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C1152GS
Posts: 24

Originally posted by ilovechocolate on November 13, 2018 17:17

Hello,

Rather obviously to me, the issue of the SAT at its inception was the fact that its origin lies in an eugenics experiment. The issue with the current SAT is… its inception still lies in an eugenics experiment. Knowing that, “distancing the SAT from IQ has been crucial to its success”, illuminates the prominent similarities between IQ testing and the SAT, really despite what anyone else says. And to take a stance on IQ testing, I found it very interesting how Malcolm Gladwell “said I.Q. measures not just the quality of a person’s mind but the quality of the world that person lives in”. So then, if the SAT and IQ are so inherently similar, how can millions of incoming college students be tested with the SAT, yet come from so many different and diverse backgrounds and cultures? If the quality of the world that a person lives in determines their readiness for a test that determines so much, like the SAT, what are the justifications of even using the SAT?

Henry Chauncey headed ETS (Educational Testing Service), which provided the base for the SAT, a test that was created for the purpose of military testing and university scholarships. As far as I know, I am taking the SAT for the purpose of applying to colleges, not to the military, but I guess who knows! Chauncey’s background, as a descendant of Puritans, led him to be attracted to the order, purity and grandeur, all which he found in the form of standardized testing. Seeing Chauncey’s relationship to Conant, who wanted widespread public education to expand opportunity which would further the United States as a whole, is also an interesting piece of the puzzle. Chauncey was able to see the validity of Conant’s points and critiques towards standardized testing, but somewhere along his way, he got too blinded by the success of ETS to worry about the morality of testing. The historic links between eugenic thinking and the testing industry are so plainly obvious that even a ‘feeble minded person’ could connect these dots!

I full heartedly agree with Gladwell's insights into the fallacy between IQ and race. I think it is interesting to back some of Gladwell's views with the context of Lemann’s research. In Lemann’s research we see eugenics and testing mixed together. Lemann writes that Chauncey did not realize what future he was handing the United States with the creation of the ETS; a “roaring, ungoverned force of ambition in America”, that rarely benefits the health of students, as competition to succeed becomes eminent. Lemann explains how Brigham repudiated his earlier findings many times even say that his own novel was “without foundation” and that the IQ test was "one of the most glorious fallacies in the history of science”, greatly worried about the outcomes of students testing scores because of widespread mistakes, and felt that merging testing institutes would turn standardized testing into a for-profit business. Brigham definitely was not wrong. Education had become educating a student for the purpose of testing, not for the purpose of gaining knowledge.

It is helpful to understand that education had become for the purpose of scoring well on a standardized test and not for real world application and success, to see Gladwell’s perspective as he truly meant it. There is no ethical way to compare a student who has had a private education, two parents who attended college, and preparation for the SAT to a student who grew up in a single parent household, attending a public school, and who grew up in a culture that did not discuss secondary education or preparation for secondary education. The culture that surrounds a growing brain will affect greatly how a young child applies themself. Gladwell blatantly shows through Flynn’s research that disparities in IQ among different races starts between the ages of 4 and 24. It has nothing to do with genetic makeup of a baby and all to do with the quality and moderness of the world that a person grows up in.

So, to sum it all up, eugenics, standardized testing and IQ testing are one big intertwined scramble. So why do we, as a society, allow something so morally corrupt like eugenics to shape the future of our country in the form of standardized testing?

I think the reason society allows standardized testing to continue is because of how much money is invested in it. There are no incentives for these companies to stop testing if consumers continue to demand it. If people become more aware of these tests and decide not to take it then it will be dismantled. To sum it all up these standardized tests exist because of the profits for all these major testing companies.

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C1152GS
Posts: 24

Originally posted by Torino on November 13, 2018 18:38

Hola,


I love the SAT! It’s so fun! I would take it every Saturday given the opportunity! All of these are jokes obviously, I perform well typically but I have other things that I would rather spend my Saturday doing, like literally anything other than SAT’s.

I do have a couple problems with the SAT other than it taking up half of my Saturday, I was doing some additional research on the average scores for the SAT math portion of the test, and apparently “The mean score on the math section of the SAT for all test-takers is 511 out of 800, the average scores for blacks (428) and Latinos (457) are significantly below those of whites (534) and Asians (598).” I am happy to say that I was above the average on the SAT for math but this shows clear problems with racial disparities in scoring with blacks scoring a net of 170 average points lower on the SAT’s than Asians. This is a problem pretty clearly, however glaring this gap is between blacks and Asians the SAT and the College board has improved accessibility to the test. First the fee waivers, and second the partnership between Khan Academy and the SAT’s (which was how I prepared for the SAT’s.)

Clearly, the SAT and IQ test have links to Eugenics since the entire point of testing is to determine how “feeble-minded” a person is. Going back to the Malcolm Gladwell article it is clear that Southern Italians, Hispanics, and blacks did very poorly scoring in the high seventies, low eighties, almost at the the cut off for mental retardation (which is 70.) This clearly links poverty and race to lower scores on the IQ test.

These links between eugenics and the standardized testing industry are very clear since the main proponent discussed by the article in the Atlantic Henry Chauncey was an avid supporter of eugenics and he also wrote letters to Charles Davenforth, one of the major names in the eugenics field. Clearly, eugenics and testing are linked by the nature of both beasts, they both are trying to create the ideal human race in a sense with more “intelligent” people getting more of an advantage in life by going to places like Harvard or Yale.

My question to you all is that, is testing for IQ and for SAT scores a good way of determining your intellect and if you don’t test well does that mean that you are not intelligent since that is the entire purpose of standardized testing?



Gracias,

Torino.

I think SAT tests determine a specific socio-economic background and signals that to the colleges and college board. I don’t think Standardized testing measures intelligence but rather the ability to take the test. Some of the questions on the test are not like anything we’ve seen in school, so it does not measure mastery of the material.

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Bonaduchi
Posts: 25

Originally posted by freemanjud on November 08, 2018 12:37

Readings:

Now an alert—each of these three articles is long. That’s why you have through Wednesday to read them and do this assignment.

Nicholas Lemann, "The Structure of Success in America," Atlantic Monthly (August 1995)

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1995/09/the-structure-of-success-in-america/376452/ORhttp://www.learntoquestion.com/resources/database/archives/000836.html

Nicholas Lemann, "The Great Sorting," Atlantic Monthly (Sep 1995)

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1995/09/the-great-sorting/376451/ OR http://www.learntoquestion.com/resources/database/archives/000837.html

Malcolm Gladwell, “None of the Above: What IQ doesn’t tell you about race,” The New Yorker (December 17, 2007)

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/12/17/none-of-the-above OR

http://www.learntoquestion.com/resources/database/archives/003421.html


Your assignment is to read three groundbreaking articles, later turned into an equally important book, by journalist Nicholas Lemann. The book is called The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy (published 1999); it’s an extremely important book, well worth reading. These articles, “The Structure of Success in America” and “The Great Sorting,” written by Lemann and published in The Atlantic in August and September 1995 respectively, are the basis of several chapters of the book.


Lemann skillfully and methodically documents the long obscured links between the creation of your oh-so-favorite standardized test, the SATs, and the eugenics movement. Pay particular attention to Henry Chauncey and Carl Brigham’s connections and how these led to the creation of these tests and the ETS, the Educational Testing Service, today a multi-billion dollar business.


As takers of the SATs (and what choice do you have?), you are now part of this grandiose eugenics-based experiment, now several generations old. Indeed, in this one instance, you are the victims—not the bystanders—of this invention.


I would like you to read these two rather long articles. Don’t procrastinate; get started! They are long but they are so worthwhile. And then, take a look at Malcolm Gladwell’s more recent look at the relations between race and IQ testing, a coda (in effect) to the issue of the SATs.


After reading the articles, I would like you to:

  • post your views on what you believe are the merits and/or problems of intelligence testing and the SAT at its inception (and now)
  • post as well as on what you consider the historic links to be between eugenic thinking and the testing industry. Are they reasonable? Are they flawed?
  • Please be sure to make specific reference to elements of Lemann’s research, as they are key to understanding the labyrinthine links between these exams and the eugenics movement in America.
  • Please weigh in on Malcolm Gladwell’s insights into the fallacy of linking IQ and race. Do you agree or disagree with Gladwell’s view?
  • Post a question to your classmates based on what you’ve read and written and respond at least one question raised by at least one of your other classmates. (If you are first to post, go back in later and respond to a later question.)

In all honesty I feel like the SAT sucks. That has always been my opinion of it ever since I knew what it was and I feel like most teenagers would agree(especiallayl juniors and seniors). The entire concept is essentially putting all your eggs in one basket. It decides a large part of your future based off of one test in 3-4 hours on one day, and a Saturday on top of that. Test taking is not even an essential skill that people need but even if it was doing the testing the way they do it is counterproductive. Many tests have shown that teens are not fully functioning until after 10 am so why have the test in the morning? Why have a test on a Saturday when people have a relaxed mindset. Why put so much pressure on a one time thing? Any scientist would tell you that one piece of evidence isn’t enough to prove anything but that is exactly what the SAT is. Like the opposers to Chauncey’s system in “Structure of Success in America” I always felt that the SAT wasn’t an accurate measure of intelligence. In both instances and time periods the SAT is inefficient.

Although I think the SAT is wrong I don’t their intention was to stir up so many problems. I think everybody has this idea of a perfect world in their heads. Everybody also has this notion that they are better or special in some way. When a person begins to get the same opportunities you get and you feel they don’t deserve them then you oh will somehow cheated. If only there was a way to qualify someone to be at that same level...and that’s where Eugenics and the SAT came about. In theory it makes sense(at least it did then) , do whatever you can to assure that perfect people fit into a perfect world, but in practice it’s lacking. This view only causes rifts in the community and adds on to existing biases. There seems to be a correlation that economic ability is more measured than intelligence in the SAT which still rings true today. This brings me to my next point in that I agree with Gladwell’s point. I think that there isn’t a predetermined I.Q. for different races and that all it really comes down to is opportunity. Who gets what and why? Is the question that determines higher I.Q. than others. I.Q. and SAT are mainly culture tests and “how modern you are”.

My question I guess is: Is the SAT and everything it embodies(a perfect world and standarization) worth it?

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Bonaduchi
Posts: 25

Originally posted by Mulan23 on November 13, 2018 22:07

I think that the main problem with the SATs is that it is meant to be a “baseline” test to determine intelligence or that a person is able to meet the “basic requirements” to get into college, but in fact it does not. Instead, it tests your ability to take tests similar to this one or your preparedness for it. I think that the SATs is not a good measure of someone’s intelligence because so many different cultural factors can affect one’s ability to perform “well” on the test. It is also used as a way to test someone’s grasp on the english language, something that makes it harder for people who grew up in another country or have not been exposed to it as much.


Intelligence can’t be defined by simply taking a test where you are asked questions that have been shown to be catered to a certain group of people or where answers are simply bubbled in. Furthermore, intelligence itself is a flawed way of thinking and has never truly been defined. Throughout history and especially with eugenics, it was used as a way to justify a superiority complex.


The SATs was made is still used to test intelligence. But originally, it was used to pick people for scholarships, but as time went on, it started being used as a way to find the “feeble minded”, to prove that intelligence was in fact heritable, and to justify the eugenics movement.


I definitely agree with Gladwell’s point of view that IQ and race are not linked. Watson’s conclusion that Africans have a significantly lower IQ based on their race, is misled. Cultural or environmental (not really the right word) factors can affect the outcomes. Educational opportunities are a huge factor. For example, if someone has had access to tutors or education that better helps prepare for standardized testing, they will probably have a “better” score compared to someone who never got the chance to start or finish their education.


In response to 617capecod5’s question “is there a way for us fairly measure and compare students’ abilities for acceptance purposes in competitive colleges and universities? What would it look like? Should there be one?”. I think that in some way, colleges should administer tests that can help determine if a student is compatible to the college, I don't really know how they would go about this and it would definitely differ from school to school. I think that it is difficult to test a students “abilities” or compatibility to schools on a national or even international level given how much people’s situations differ and have an influence on their ability to do “well” on such a test.


In my everyday life at BLS, I hear things such as “wow, they got an A in that class, they’re so smart”. My question is: do you think by having that mindset we are following the eugenics thinking by basing our views of intelligence on the SATs and grades? If so, how can we steer away from that sort of thinking when it’s so ingrained into our society?

I definitely think that we are following that thinking. The SAT as we know is just a cloaked eugenics test. When you get a high score the first thing that people think is that you’re smart not that you’re a hard worker or that you’re a really good test taker but that you’re smart. Grades do the same thing, They try to quantify something that is impossible to quantify. Who is say that the day you took the SAT wasn’t a bad one or the class you failed in you tried your hardest. Even so the factors that need to be included are impossible to control. With this system I don’t think there is a way to steer away from the eugenics thinking. People love to categorize and the way we are doing it is not the best but I don’t think we should completely remove the system either

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Swoogity Swiggity
Posts: 15

That !&#% Test

Greetings,

So as we read, the SAT is not as great as we may think, but honestly, is it something that’s a real shock considering the things this country has already hidden from us? Anyhow, the SAT is good in the sense that as Gladwell said, tests our “modernness” and how “cultured” we are based upon the country we live in. The biggest flaw though, is that it doesn’t actually test intelligence. I’ve always believed there’s different kinds of intelligence. For example, you compare a literature critique, an athlete, and a carpenter, all 3 excel in different aspects. You could say they’re smart in 3 different ways. A literature critique can analyze a text, show you a deeper meaning within a text and they’re smart that way. An athlete on the court/pitch/etc can see and make a play that the common fan wouldn’t necessarily see and in that way they’re smart. Finally a carpenter, though sawing some wood here and there would seem easy enough, carpentry goes deeper than that, there’s what chemicals to use to shine the wood and in what’s correct order. There’s also the correct way to drill a hole, something The average person wouldn’t know. Does this mean that any of the three are less intelligent than the other? HELLS NO! That’s just means they excel in different aspects the other 2 wouldn’t be necessarily excel in. This is similar to the example of the association the tribal peoples of Africa make between a knife and a potato and the way an American would associate them. One isn’t more intelligent than the other, it’s just because of the differing situation and lives each eac would live that different associations would be made. The link between eugenics and the testing industry is the hope of subtly separating the “smart” from the “retarded” and having one leave a successful, prosperous life while having the other be forgotten and struggle to get along, sort of throw their life. Knowing eugenic’s hidden racism and how these standardized tests favor greatly white folk who know this country and it’s culture better and language better than a Hispanic or a black person would, it’s going to be favorable to them. Meanwhile, a colored or ethnically different person would be cast aside and deemed “stupid”, “retarded”, or “below average”. I think Gladwell brings up excellent points in how cultures, nationalities, etc all play into a person’s “intelligence” or I.Q. differences. I think it’s important to note that because every country has its differences in culture, in traditions, associations, the list goes on... that you can’t create an I.Q. test that is fit for everyone. There’s just too much variety and uniqueness around the world for there to be a single standardized test for everyone that FAIRLY tests intelligence. I wanna end by asking something. Hypothetically, if such a test were to be created, and considering our lack of knowledge about anything that goes beyond our own tiny world, wouldn’t we all be “retarded”?

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Torino
Posts: 35

Originally posted by Thomas Aquinas on November 13, 2018 23:22

Finally my question to the class: Is it ever possible to compare intellects amongst different people?

I think that it is not possible to compare intellects across different people. I mean you can objectively compare IQ and SAT scores saying that "this person got higher than this person" but across races it doesn't really work. If you are comparing two people with different races in terms of their score, then you will not be factoring in any outside factors such as their background and their upbringing. This will lead to misleading data and inacurage comparisons.

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Rainier
Posts: 18

SATs and Their Links to Eugenics

I believe that we as a class recognized the flawed system of SAT and intelligence testing. Now in an ideal situation, we would be able to create a solution to the problem and that solution is what I would be talking about now. Unfortunately that is impossible because as evidenced by the articles, the background and goals of such intelligence test is a complicated matter. I believe that is is a human instinct to sort things and measure things as it contributes to a greater understanding of the world. As a result, the creation of the SAT and such intelligence tests was an attempt of this sorting and filing. While the SAT does indeed have its flaw, I believe that there should be a way of “measuring intelligence”. Such tests can have benefits and contribute to an analysis of things like how education can be improved, like the MCAS does. The problem is that intelligence is more complex than just a test, there are different types of intelligence and sometimes one student is better than others at things and vice versa. For example, someone may have a good work ethic and good grades but are simply bad test takers, and because they struggle on tests, that test labels them as not smart. So when we say that we are measuring intelligence, those tests only measure a certain type of intelligence. In class, the subject of pass or fail test came up. I like this idea because I believe that there is a basic level of education that people should be able to have. This is simple things like basic algebra, literacy, science, and likewise. Having an understanding of topics like this are needed in the world we live in today. I think that measuring intelligence further than that crosses over into a blurry line.


There is such a focus on SAT and testing now because it seems as though our lives are depended on it. This may just be my experience but I remember taking the ISEE and doing well on it was my only goal because that meant I would go to BLS. Now, I have the same mentality about the SAT. There is an expectation now that everyone goes to college. This is very different from before when only a fraction of society went to college. The first article mentions that during the Great Depression, students were basically selected through whether they could pay or not. Since than, world has changed and the process of applying is so much more competitive and that enforces the need of SAT and measuring and judging people. I feel like the creation of the SAT was an example of the change in society. It was the start of more people applying and therefore the need to sort people in newer ways. Although, in creating the SAT, they created the modern definition of intelligence, which lacks to account for the various levels and complexities of intelligence. Luckily now, I think that slowly, more and more schools have been realizing this and less require the SAT and ACT scores. I see this as a gleam of hope for the future and shows change.


I also don’t believe that the SAT tests were created with the concept of eugenics in mind. I think that creating this method of an intelligence test provided a course for eugenics to go down and indirectly caused the a false correlation between race and intelligence. The articles discuss the initial goal of the SATs of finding gifted students to attend Harvard. I think where the makers went wrong was the belief that is also showed inherent ability.


The beginning of Gladwell’s article was very interesting in that it put in perspective the versatility of IQ. What would have been defined as smart many years ago is not on the same level as we see now. So this leads to the question, what is “being smart”? You can’t define it as a number, since as seen here, that number seems to change through time. This is why I agree with Gladwell in saying that you can’t have a universal test to test intelligence of people of different nations. Thomas Aquinas was that it does not take culture as a factor which makes it all biased and I agree with this fact. I think that we all have gone along with a predetermined definition of intelligence which is too limited in its scope. While I believe that having a way to test intelligence of everyone in a fair, universal manner would be ideal, I recognize that this is nearly impossible. I’m still unsure of whether I would like to see a complete elimination of the SAT test but I know that change must be done to tests like that, or else we will continue to live in a biased system.


To answer a question posed by TurnOverThisPage, I think we do need standardization of some type. There are so many people in the world and sometimes the information we learn from having something universal to all is valuable. Used correctly, it can provide greater understanding and information. Now my question to you all is; where do you see modern testing being taken in the future? As a society, would we actually be able to eliminate such testing or have we dug ourselves in such deep a hole that it is too late to get out?

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