Abolish the SAT and use achievement tests (SAT IIs) instead, argues Charles Murray of American Enterprise Institute in The American. The SAT Is aren’t anywhere as class biased as people think, writes Murray, but the perception of bias discourages poor kids who can’t afford coaching. Achievement tests are just as good at predicting college performance and require students to study academic subjects, not mind games.
Now, the widespread belief is that the system is rigged, and the SAT is a major reason for that belief. The most immediate effect of getting rid of the SAT is to remove an extremely large and bright red herring. But there are more good effects.
. . . The substitution of achievement tests for the SAT will put a spotlight on the quality of the local high schoolâ€™s curriculum. If achievement test scores are getting all of the parentsâ€™ attention in the college admissions process, the courses that prepare for those achievement tests will get more of their attention as well, and the pressure for those courses to improve will increase.
When it was first pioneered, the SAT was supposed to recognize the academic merits of students from obscure high schools and obscure families, identifying diamonds in the rough. Now it’s seen as ratifying the academic superiority of the children of the highly educated.