Boeckenstedt’s Nine SAT/ACT Tropes


A while ago, I wrote a long piece about my frustrations in talking to people about the ACT and SAT. You can read the whole thing here if you want. It was too long and too detailed, and the good stuff was at the end: The tropes the College Board and ACT and standardized testing proponents pull out every time someone posits that the tests are not useful.

I’m simply summarizing them here.

  1. The tests are standardized and thus fair because everyone takes the same exam. 
  2. The “Diamond in the Rough” (DITR) theory.
  3. Grade inflation makes grades meaningless, and thus we need tests.
  4. Don’t blame the tests for telling the cold hard truth.
  5. Removing the tests doesn’t accomplish the diversity objectives that are often an explicit or implicit goal of going test optional. 
  6. More information is better.
  7. Everything else we use is bad, so we need tests.
  8. Tests measure native ability. 
  9. If low-income students don’t take a test because they don’t need it for college admission, colleges won’t be able to find them.

If you keep this list handy, you can identify them when they pop up: In interviews, at cocktail parties, or Thanksgiving dinner when uncle Bill decides he’s going to tell you what’s what. Go back to the full article and just scroll down until you see the reason why you shouldn’t take it at face value.

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