4 Ways the SAT Is Culturally Biased Against Black Students

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The SAT, developed by the College Board, is used to evaluate applicants in most U.S. colleges’ admissions. While admissions officers stress that the SAT is only one of many factors considered in admission, it is an important factor. Because educational standards vary among states and schools, colleges use the SAT as a way to calibrate the veracity of the transcript. Therefore, SAT scores have a measurable impact on students’ admissions.

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The Test is Constructed Around the Performance of White Males

The SAT uses an experimental section to test questions that may be used on future tests. If the questions don’t test well, they are scrapped. If they do well, the questions are placed on future tests. But how do test administrators decide when a question does well? By the performance of white males.

Researcher Jay Rosner analyzed 276 verbal and math questions from the 1998-2000 SATs. He discovered what he calls “Black questions,” which more Blacks than whites answered correctly on the experimental sections. These questions never made it onto the scored sections of future tests. Instead, the SAT contains the “White questions.” Rosner argues that the questions are geared toward whites, as test developers are mandated to recreate the norm, and the norm is White males outperforming their peers.

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