Five SAT type questions about the SAT (this post is somewhat SATirical)

1) What does the SAT actually measure?

a. Your ability to take the SAT
b. Your ability to juggle 6 balls while balancing on one foot atop a large bouncy ball 
c. How much money your parents make 
d. The distance between Portland, OR and Portland, ME
e. Almost all of the above
6 (2)

The SAT is widely used for college admissions and the College Board website states that SAT is “designed to assess your academic readiness for college”. It has been argued that the SAT might actually measure the amount of money the test takers parents make. A report from the New York Times broke down the family income and test result statistics into the following graph:
Draw your own conclusions, or paint them if you would like. I just see lines that point to the SAT standing for Symbolic Affluence Test.

2) Which of the statements below is TRUE?
a. The SAT is totally unbiased in regards to race, culture and ethnicity
b. The SAT accurately measures student performance in their first year of college
c. The SAT is a highly valued indicator of intelligence
d. The SAT teaches you that life is unfair
Many studies show that the SAT is biased when it comes to culture and ethnicity. Roy Freedle published a paper in Harvard Educational Review titled “Correcting the SAT’s Ethnic and Social-Class Bias: A Method for Reestimating SAT Scores.”, and received strong criticism from proponents of the SAT. The Harvard Educational Review created a blog to engage both parties in fruitful dialogue. While that attempt was fruitless (no comments on the blog to date), the Huffington Post revived the discussion when Maria Veronica Santelices and Mark Wilson wrote an article citing Freedle and confirming that there was a correlation between item difficulty and performance on that item across racial and ethnic groups. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi took the discussion further when he examined the unsecured pre-tests portion of the SAT calling it a “discriminatory process” and citing a study done by Rosner of The Princeton Review Foundation where he puts forward the thesis that the “use of point bi-serial correlation, the eliminating of the Black questions, the retaining of White questions is the heartbeat of racism in the SAT.”
 
4 (3)

3) Is there a gender bias in the SAT?
a. Yes
b. No
c. I don’t have enough data
d. I have too much data
E = mc2
As evidenced from the image above, even Kaplan, the “industry leader in test prep for more than 70 years”, admits that there is a gender gap (aka gender bias) in the SAT. The 2013 SAT results show that there is a 32 point gender gap that has existed for well over 40 years. This gap exists despite the fact that the females have better academic performances, are overrepresented in AP and Honors level math and science and are more likely to take fours years of math and science. This bias has been talked about in articles again and again and again, yet still nothing has been done about it. The SAT is hereby known as Superior Achievement (in case of) Testosterone.
 
4) Which of the following is a strong indicator that one will do well on the SAT?
 a. Be a man
b. Be a rich man
c. Be a rich white man
d. Have a positive attitude while taking the exam
e. Study smarter
An article titled, “The SAT Is Rigged Against Girls” from 2010 states that the SAT questions are traditionally connected with masculine subjects like sports, physical science and business. Carol Dwyer’s 1976 report documented referenced here, suggests that in the first years of the SAT, females showed superior performance, upsetting the ETS policy makers. Thus, they added more masculine subjects so that males would feel more confident in answering the questions.
 
SAT Success Secrets interviewed a student named Kayla who raised her SAT score by 320 points. She shared that all she did was think positive and study smarter. When you google “improve your SAT score” you get over 2 million hits. That’s 2 million different places you can go to for advice on how to improve your score. According to Kathleen Steinberg, from the College Board, students who take the SAT test twice only “increase their scores by about 30 points.” Again, paint your own conclusions, but changing the score on a “standardized” test that is supposed to test innate ability to perform in college should be the the brightest red flag in a sea of red flags. 

Hint: red flags mean something is horribly wrong.
 
7 (2)
 
5) How standard is the SAT?

a. Very

Ok, so this last question isn’t very SAT-ish. Point being, why be standard? Really, what is the point testing the “same”-ness in people? Don’t we want to see how differently we all think? Don’t we want to measure how we grow as human beings, how we contribute to 
society, how we learn to cooperate and solve problems on a large (or small) scale? I certainly do not define success by a grade or a number. Nor by anyone’s ability to fill in a circle with that sharply honed number 2 pencil.
How do you define success?

Adnan Iftekhar