Indoctrination in the SAT

David Coleman announces the SAT redesign.

Parents have been complaining about a question on the SAT their children took recently.

Two parents reported a question about a speech given by Bernie Sanders that was asked on the SAT. 

The first parent asked on social media: 

1) Why was there an Essay Question on my daughter’s SAT test asking her to explain why Bernie Sanders speech was effective?? 

Regardless of any political beliefs this is underhanded and just wrong.

2) The whole country takes mandatory SAT’s yesterday and my daughter was one of them….she told me that the last question was critiquing a speech that Bernie Sanders made on not privatizing the post offices. His arguments/opinions put out there without any opposing views. 

It’s a good time to remind you that David Coleman, one of the Chief Architects of the Common Core Standards, is now the President of the College Board. Since he was elevated to this position there has been much controversy surrounding the SAT/ACT and Advanced Placement Program. 

Coleman came under fire after the testing organization used the tragedy of the Parkland school shootings to promote the Advanced Placement Program

When Coleman spoke about redesigning the SAT he came under scrutiny when he quickly moved to align the SAT to the Common Core Standards.

The College Board moved to revise its AP U.S. History (APUSH) with an ideologically slanted framework. This moved resulted in calls to break the College Board’s testing monopoly. Politicizing U.S. History was not going to happen without controversy or a fight.

One of the ways to indoctrinate children with biased political views is, through standardized testing.  In New Hampshire, it is state law that the SAT must be used to test children in 11th grade.  This was signed into law after the Smarter Balanced Assessment created a whirlwind of controversy several years ago. As one wise parent pointed out this, when he looked at the question:

Notice how the question is couched. It’s sort of like asking, “Explain why Hillary Clinton isn’t President even though she deserved to win.” It’s an opinion framed as a fact. 

The problem isn’t that they included a speech from a political candidate. The problem is that they presented opinion as fact. It’s called a “mind virus.

When the College Board hired a political operative as their President, that brought with it the possibility of more politicization and indoctrination through the assessments and AP courses. It appears as if that’s where Coleman has taken this organization.

That might be why more and more colleges no longer consider the SAT in their admissions process.  According to fairtest.org “More than 1000 four-year colleges and universities do not use the SAT or ACT to admit substantial numbers of bachelor-degree applicants.”

This kind of political indoctrination does not help public education. Parents need to fight for quality education, not indoctrination.  Illiteracy is nothing to cheer about and the more this becomes acceptable, the more chances we have of dumbing down our public schools. 

5 thoughts on “Indoctrination in the SAT

  1. I’m stuck in the middle of this right now as a parent of a junior in HS. The high schools push the AP classes the AP/SAT/ACT tests and test prep courses and actually tell students that no college will look at them without those test scores. She insists that she needs to take the tests, but every college she is looking at or has visited, is claiming that they are SAT/ACT/AP optional. It’s a hard lesson learned by teenagers that the teachers and guidance counselors that they are supposed to trust are actually lying and doing harm to them. I would like nothing more than the College Board to come crashing down in this whole Varsity Blues scandal. These tests need to be exposed for what they really are……..part of the racist Eugenics Movement. I think the history of these tests need to be posted in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, USA Today, WaPo etc so that everyone knows that when they sign their child up to take these garbage tests, that they are in fact, keeping racism alive and well.

  2. I detest what Coleman has done to assessment in this country, but the test is crouched in secrecy. How do you know the question? Was this the daytime SAT.

  3. Please do not mistake “effective” with “why you agree with.” All SAT essay questions present an editorial piece of some kind (speech, book excerpt, newspaper opinion) and then asks students to identify and discuss the rhetorical techniques or strategies the author uses to make an effective argument. The student writer always takes the stance that it’s “effective” for an imagined intended audience who would want to hear the writer’s message. They take “ineffective” out of the equation to make it fairer–if students first had to choose “effective vs. ineffective,” they’d risk getting a 0 even if they made some valid analytical points. The SAT essay wording is ALWAYS the same (Explain how “author X” makes an argument that “…”). In fact, if students merely (a) summarize the piece, or (b) take a stance on the opinion offered, they are off-prompt and receive a no-score.

    1. Yet, if the SAT were to use an article refuting the claims of the cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming, they would be chastised for being “deniers”. I would love to see them use BOTH sides of an argument for a question and ask test-takers to identify the literary devices used in both to support the arguments being made. Better yet, include facts versus opinions in no matter which article/essay/speech they analyze.

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