The SAT and Its Role in Public Policy

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Today, in the United States, standardized tests are administered every year by states to their Kindergarten-12th grade public school students. Different states place different weight on their standardized testing results where some states differ their funding based on results and annual improvement, whereas other states allow schools to simply gauge where their students are scoring relative to other schools in the state. These tests, however, are only standardized within one state. One of the few tests standardized throughout the entire country is the SAT, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, administered by College Board and required by, “More than 800 of the nation’s colleges and universities,” (Comras, 1984). This test will be the standardized test focused on in this paper. While standardized testing is that, standardized, and enables the comparison of one student to another, the meaning of the score does not equate to a test of intelligence. Therefore, while standardized testing should be applied in the education system, it needs to be more indicative of the material learned in school and should hold less weight than it currently does in the college admissions process. Many psychology theories have been developed in order to determine how to measure intelligence. Volume 63 of the Annual Review of Psychology details a few studies citing popular theories from the 1970s to 2000 (Deary, 2012), including the measurement of, “sensory discrimination and reaction time,” (Deary, 2012). After 2000, however, “interest has focused, in the broadly psychometric-experimental levels, on processing speed and working memory as potential explanatory variables for intelligence,” (Deary, 2012). In measuring intelligence, scientists are focu... ... middle of paper ... ...F PSYCHOLOGY, 63, 453-482. Duckworth, A. L., Quinn, P. D., Lynam, D. R., Loeber, R., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (2011). Role of test motivation in intelligence testing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(19), 7716-7720. Intelligence. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2014, from Richards, T. (2001). Website of the week: Testing intelligence. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 323(7308), 348. Strauss, V. (2014, April 22). What does the SAT measure? Aptitude? Achievement? Anything?. Washington Post. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from What Does the SAT Really Measure?. (n.d.). PBS. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from
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