Re: Educational Assessment--SAT I

Date: Wed Mar 08 2000 - 16:35:32 EST

In repy to:
<< I would suggest that you contact TestFair in Boston about Horn's
findings. They are the "watchdogs" in equity in testing. >>

Actually it's FairTest, but anyway... Having not seen the Horn article, I
can't comment directly on that, but I can address some other issues

First, and I checked the numbers before writing this, looking back to 1972
we just don't have the number before that, men have scored higher then
women on both the verbal and math sections on the SAT every year. The time
when women did better on the Verbal score was, I believe, was back in the
sixties, there used to be open ended written responses in the verbal
section, which females did better on, This was corrected for almost as soon
as it was notices at males weren't doing as well and they (Males) have been
doing better on the test ever since.

This, FairTest argues, is a problem since ETS, the makers of the SAT,
claims that it predicts first year college grades. However, women make
better grades then men in high school and college, for whatever reason,
thus this test is over predicting for about 44%, the actual gender break
down changes year to year, and under predict for 56% of the test takers.
Many schools aware of this problem have chosen to either overlook the SAT,
allowing students to only submit their scores if they want, or taking
various societal factors into account when considering SAT scores.

As for readjusting scores to even things out for females, we haven't heard
about anything like this on the SAT. With the PSAT, the National Merit
Qualifying Score, the V score was "double weighted," however this didn't
help women because they score lower on BOTH parts of the test and the gap
on the math section is larger than the verba; gap. However, as Kathleen
Rigsby pointed the article mentioned was from 1989-1990 and is now obsolete
as they don't do this any more.

Yes, there are gender identifiable and race, identifiable questions on the
SAT. After many years of criticism that the SAT was discriminatory ETS
decided to do something about it. They added question that are bias in
favor of people other then middle-upper class whites. Unfortunately
standardized multiple choice tests are inherently biased and ETS was/is
trying to make there test more equitable to all. Of course simply adding a
few "ethnic" or "female" questions hasn't solved the bias problem. It
still remains that the factor that has the highest positive correlation
with SAT scores is parental income and socioeconomic status.

Jennifer Griffis

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