Does The SAT Discriminate Against African Americans?

Living 2010/06/22 11:24:53
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Does the SAT discriminate against African American students?

Research psychologist Roy Freedle has been working for 23 years to prove that the SAT puts black students at a disadvantage -- and his ideas are just now gaining traction, the Huffington Post reported.

Freedle's initial findings identified a difference between "hard" and "easy" questions on the SAT. Hard [SAT] questions, those that produced more wrong answers, tended to have longer, less common words. Easy questions tended to have shorter, more common words.

Freedle thought this was key to the relative success African American students had with the harder ones. Simpler words tended to have more meanings, and in some cases different meanings in white middle class neighborhoods than they had in underprivileged minority neighborhoods, he concluded. This could help explain why African American students did worse on questions with common words than on questions that depended on harder, but less ambiguous words they studied at school.

A recent paper in the Harvard Educational Review corroborates Freedle's original thesis, but we have to wonder if those "easy" questions might be hard for everyone.

Does The SAT Put Black Students At A Disadvantage?

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/18/sat-bias_...

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Top Opinion

  • Vaius 2010/06/22 13:56:44
    Great job, Mr. Psychologist. Obviously if someone performs poorly on the SAT it must be biased against them!

    Oh, unless they're white. If they're white they just didn't study hard enough.


    This guy is a moron. Anyone who believes him is a moron.

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  • genice 2011/05/26 04:49:34
    You have to be kidding me! This person has been trying to prove his SAT theory for 23 years?! Has he ever thought that maybe the test questions are hard for everyone- including white students?! 23 years working on this BS-- I have to say it is HIM that has RACISM ON THE BRAIN!
    Contrary to what today's kids are taught in school and society in general today, it is not just the African American students that are disadvantaged & living in poor neighborhoods! All races & nationalities can & do. EVERYTHING IS NOT ABOUT RACE & CAUSED BY RACISM. The only ones that really are racist are the accusers. It's really getting old and tiresome!
  • Kebenzis 2010/12/02 02:54:06
    Clearly, by this topic. You yourself may be a racist also towards African Americans. If it were to be yes though, then maybe there wouldn't be an option that mentions if you were African American or not. This is pretty much stereotypical once you get a better look on it because a lot of African Americans are well, unsuccessful in life? Unless they can spit a lyric or is an athlete (so the Freedom Writters movie). I'm sure that society, and especially the United States Educational department isn't discriminative towards African Americans. If they were, then this type of thing would've been brought up by the Supreme Court and the SAT would no longer exist. That'll be nice for high school students, but then college will just... go downhill. That sucks.
  • Arabian.Queen. 2010/08/28 03:01:44
  • Sissy 2010/07/11 19:42:52
    Whenever there is a school district for all kids of all races to have the same chance at educational opportunities, this issue would be moot. However that's not the case is it? Where there are crumbling schools, underpaid teachers, aged textbooks, and private schools reap the benefits of those who can afford such services, it would stand to reason to most people that there is a lesser chance for equal performance, let alone advantages..
  • Reginal 2010/07/05 03:59:31
    short answer:yes
    long answer: hell yes

    lol. white people bring me to tear laughing. I love reading the comments. I think I get it. When they're using statistics to explain why you're smart, wealthier, more capable, or any other pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo that allows the temporary majority to feel good about themselves they're okay with it but when there's some tangible feasible evidence of inequality and thier BLATANTLY ADVANTAGE they're whiny and mad...GET OVER IT!! MOST OF YOU ARE RACIST!! AND THAT TEST IS BIAS...ahhaha im so glad...I can't wait for my daughter to be in highschool so I can volunteer at her highschool spending time to helping them study for the SAT's and contributing money for study books...
  • reed67 2010/06/30 19:16:25
    I know a retired school teacher who used to work for the school system we're in. We're were picking her up to take her out to dinner on her last week there. We went inside not the classroom but the buliding. We stood outside her classroom for like 10 mins I guess. Some girl said shes can't read & she doesn't care to learn how to either.

    The girl got loud & raised her voice & said " I don't need to learn how to read, my momma says I'm going to get what's coming to me!

    The bell rang right before the teacher could respond. As they were coming out I hear one girl call the teacher a stupid white bitch & that shes going to get knocked up so she can get on welfare. I have to wonder just how many blacks think like this girl does.
    I think the blame lies with parents who don't care, why keep lowing the standard for those who want a hand out? I'm sorry I think this is B.S it's bad enough when I was a kid they would pass us just because they thought it was bad for us mentally.

    At what point are we going to stop dumbing down the kids of this country?
  • aherbert 2010/06/29 04:44:47

    The test is racially bias .... but hey what is new .... African Americans can do as well as any other ... thank you
  • Mike 2010/06/27 10:32:07
    Completely ridiculous. He is not a scientist; a scientist searches for the truth. This guy is doing the exact opposite; he is trying to make the facts fit his preconceived notions. Give it up, Mr. Scientist. There are racial differences in many things, including intelligence. Does he have any explanation why Native Americans (Talk about poverty stricken and discriminated against!) do better in school than blacks? The correct answer is the obvious one: because they are *smarter* than blacks. Blacks, by and large, are lazy and stupid. Too bad for them; I wish it wasn't true, but wishing doesn't make it so.
  • I quit sodahead 2010/06/25 19:50:12
    I quit sodahead
    This is just another discrimination claim on the long list of them. Sure, a lot of them have something to be complaining about, but this??? NO! Common words have many definitions in general, meaning that you have to think about the questions more. They are multiple choice. Its not like they are asking a question that could mean ten things and then making you write down the answers instead of choosing out of 4 where only one of them would work in any of the contexts of the question. All of the other ways the question would work wouldn't have the correct answer in the choices, now would they???
  • A Brotha From Anotha Motha 2010/06/25 08:07:45
    A Brotha From Anotha Motha

    lol jus joking more like lazy.
  • Manwé 2010/06/24 22:57:29
    It has more to do with children in poverty, but I have to say yes to this question since there is a higher percent of African American children in poverty that many other groups.
    children poverty higher percent african american children poverty groups
  • Naui 2010/06/24 15:26:55 (edited)
  • ImageBandit ~ American Patriot 2010/06/24 02:06:38 (edited)
    ImageBandit ~ American Patriot
    the sat puts all people who have an inadequate education at a disadvantage - regardless of their color - thats the point - to bring the education standard up and help young people LEARN things. stop moaning about the disadvantages and bring the standards of learning up for all people of any color - the libs are the racist ones
  • susanmom ImageBa... 2010/06/24 02:35:17
    Is this fellow, an elected US representative from Georgia no less, one of those who had a problem with the SAT tests, as written. You be the judge.

  • ImageBa... susanmom 2010/06/24 02:43:34
    ImageBandit ~ American Patriot
    LOL - yes I believe he is one of them
  • susanmom ImageBa... 2010/06/24 13:33:15
    That thought crossed my mind too lol. In addition, this guy is a relatively high government official. Go figure !!
  • ImageBa... susanmom 2010/06/25 01:24:31
    ImageBandit ~ American Patriot
    to risk being called a lot of names I will venture a guess he is a "token black"
  • Randy susanmom 2010/06/25 01:02:21
    LOL. what a guy....NOT.
  • Scarlett 2010/06/24 01:04:32
    Maybe the SATs should include questions on rap lyrics and be written in some ebonic scrawling. that'' definately give the blacks a leg up and put the white kids at a disadvantage. That is, the plan to force equality where there isn't any, right?
  • Mr. Smith 2010/06/23 19:42:12
    Mr. Smith
    Typical, blame the test, not the teacher! So should we take out the big words then and dumb down the entire populous? Or should we do a better job of teaching the big words to those in the areas having problems? It sounds like we have a problem with the education system itself, not the test which measures their education level!
  • genice Mr. Smith 2011/05/26 04:35:48
    By George- Mr. Smith..I do believe you're on to something there! Contrary to what they seem to be taught today, everything is not about or caused by racism. I agree that I think the school system is the problem.The more I hear and learn about today's school system...the more horrified (& disgusted) I become. I am thankful that I have already graduated out of the school system. It seems to have been taken over by a bunch of people that don't give a rat's "batoot" about TRULY EDUCATING today's youngsters. All they seem to care about is MORE money, MORE benefits, MORE vacation days, MORE pension etc. etc. It disgusts me that the amounts they want to be paid seem to get HIGHER & HIGHER...as their output- student performance and competency just keeps getting LESS and LESS. I am afraid for tomorrow & the USA-- all that the school district seems to spit out is a bunch of indoctrinated, liberal, racist kids. GOD HELP US- WE'RE ALL IN TROUBLE!!!.
  • Mr. Smith genice 2011/05/26 04:44:46
    Mr. Smith
    Thank you, I couldn't agree more with your comment, 1,000 raves if I could!!!

    Neal Boortz has a great quote on this topic.

    "These institutions are no longer schools. They are government indoctrination centers, owned and operated by government and staffed by government employees who have every reason to teach dependency on government and no reason to produce a generation of children who have learned how to depend on themselves.

    The single most prevalent form of child abuse in this country is the act of sending a child to a government school. We worry incessantly about the separation of church and state. We would do well to devote half as much attention to the separation of government and education."
  • ELSD 2010/06/23 19:21:53 (edited)
    if a student listens and learns in school, he or she will do well on the SAT. There is nothing racist about it! Just because a student (who happens to be black) doesn't do well, does NOT mean the test is designed to discriminate against a person who is black, brown, hispanic, white, asian, how dumb that anyone would think that.
  • burningsnowman 2010/06/23 19:15:55
    SATS are pretty useless.. Outside of telling us that rich white kids will probably stay in college. Really? I would never have guessed!
  • lisafregilt 2010/06/23 18:59:47
    NO, I'm so freaking sick of all this race stuff. All the African American students have to do is STUDY, which isn't that hard. Instead, they don't, and as a result, they fail. Yeah, this dude is only right on one level: the long words thing. Because the African American students don't take the time to dig into a DICTIONARY and LEARN the words they think they'll have to know. Twenty-three years and this is all he can figure out; maybe Freedle should go back to High School.

    The same thing would happen to a Caucasian, Hispanic, or Asian student that chose not to study for their SATs; they'd fail because they didn't know the long words that they chose not to STUDY!!

    The answer to this problem is as simple as this: STUDY and WORK, and you will SUCCEED!!
  • Crazy Bill 2010/06/23 18:14:01
  • SoCalEx-Dem 2010/06/23 18:01:55
    This is crazy. If all the students study the same stuff, then why aren't the minorities doing better? Maybe its time to segregate the minorities and give them there own test with what ever words work for them to pass.
  • Rosemar... SoCalEx... 2010/06/23 19:42:02
    First of all it is "their" not "there". (grade school English.) This is why people fail at the SATs - they can't use SIMPLE grade school English!!!

    Why aren't the minorities doing better? Because they CHOOSE not to. They choose not to study, not to succeed. Sure, segregate the minorities and give them their OWN test "with what ever words WORK for them to PASS". LMAO - that would be so called "Equal Opportunity" at its finest.

    The point of the SATs is to see who has the aptitude to go to college and will SUCCEED in college. Some people are college material, and well - someone needs to serve "fries with that". The test helps to weed those people out.
  • azuredragon 2010/06/23 16:39:20
    it is biased against stupidity and ignorance
  • nettie 2010/06/23 16:34:31 (edited)
    my grandson was sent home a bunch of fill in the blank statements for school homework

    one statement stated. Going outside on a sunny day _______________ .
    He wrote...." could cause a sunburn unless you where sun screen" Well ....he got that statement marked wrong...because what the teacher wanted was....something like....." can be great fun' Another statement for the assignment was, "When I go outside I ______" ...he wrote, "make sure I take bottled water" HE GOT THAT ONE WRONG TOOOOOOOOO the teacher apparently wanted something like..."play with my friends" When we protested the school had no explanation .... THEY ONLY WANT THE ANSWERS THEY WANT NOT WHAT THE INDIVIDUAL MAY BE FAMILAR WITH. My grandson HAS BEEN TRAINED TO THINK ABOUT SAFETY WHEN PLAYING OUTSIDE IN THE SUN...thus the answers about sunscreen and taking bottled water...(we live in the south so hydration is very important)

  • Rosemar... nettie 2010/06/23 19:43:41
    Hahahaha - Oh, gotta love the public school system! Time to homeschool!
  • randall g 2010/06/23 16:23:30
    randall g
    Only the ones who didn't retain what the schools were supposed to attempt to teach them.
  • Robin B 2010/06/23 16:18:42
    Robin B
    Just the fact that it has taken him 23 years to get something to support his claim should tell you something! What were his scores?
  • Knot_RIch 2010/06/23 15:34:42
    More excuseism, another over-educated Bozo who never has, is incapable of, existing outside the academic womb. First, let's look at this, this guy has been WORKING 23 YEARS in an attempt to prove that the tests are biased. 23 freaking years, and all he can figure out is the test is using too simple words ??? Holy crap, and Harvard pays this guy ??? Just the kind of stuff Huffington Post would pick up for sure. Gads.
    As far as I recall from my daughter's school years, and my grandchildren, the black students went to the same schools, had the same teachers, sat in the same classrooms through the same classes as they did. When tests like this were taken, they didn't have a version they handed to black children and a version they handed to white children, same test, same learning environment. So let's point the finger in the right direction, ready for the circle. The learning environment is the same, the textbooks are the same, the teachers are the same, the classes are the same, the "test" is the same, there is no bias or discrimination. Soooo...IF black students are not performing as well, any student for that matter .... then ... is it A. The student, or B. the student, C. the student, D. the student, or E. all of the above. C'mon, you can do it, you know the answer ... if not, you are the weakest link.
  • dr mad 2010/06/23 14:34:04
    dr mad
    Black students are as a group are poorly motivated. Many are from a welfare, single parent home, do not use proper grammar, and have overall poor study habits. In that way, the SAT is a disadvantage to black students, and all students who have those same habits. On the other hand, there are numerous black students who excel at their chosen fields of study. SAT scores are used to judge between candidates for admission to college. It should be color blind. If black students, or any other race of students who do not wish to study, do not wish to learn the material, score poorly, that is just the way it is.
  • Gulphmills 2010/06/23 14:21:17
    Why should there be a special test for test takers who do poorly? I am white and tested with both the ACT and SAT tests. No one offered to retest me when i did poorly. I just see this old research as beening justification for special help for so called "underprivileged minority neighborhoods". Blacks today and other minorities have available to them all resources that "white middle class neighborhoods" have. I find that certain individuals in the "minorities" feel that they deserve more than "whites" do. This is just laziness, they want the samethings without having to do the work.
  • toughhombre 2010/06/23 14:18:47
    What puts Black students at a disadvantage is their anti intellectual culture which is reinforced by their so called leaders who actually want to keep them down so that they have a purpose for their jobs (Sharpton, Jackson etc.). Their talk, and music, their antithetical attitude towards the white culture keeps them from learning about the real world, history, the arts, politics etc. Until they join the mainstream of Americana as the Asian Americans, the Indian Americans and all European Americans have they will keep THEMSELVES at a disadvantage. Look at how well lAsian, East Indian and other nationalities do in the tests. THEY EXCELL ! The S.A.T.s incorporates knowledge all should know and have studied in grade and high school. What the public schools in the ghettos are doing is filling these kids minds with counter culture leaders, social change propaganda and ignoring all cultural , social, and artistic icons of Euro-American history. the smart successful blacks are usually conservative and they are never held up by the black leadership or the media as the goals to attain or emulate.
  • chrissc 2010/06/23 14:03:15
    Am I missing something here don't we all live in the same country.Are the text book's differant.I have few suggestion's they may help [1] The next time an arch.draws a school that cost a 150 million dollars hit him with a text book staight wall ,windows and h/vac and you have a building that cost a third spend the money on teaching tool's[2] get rid of the union's if the teacher's arn't doing there job fire there ass',no rubber room's where teacher's get paid for playing scrabble.The key is not bring pupil's down but trying to raise them to the top.
  • Honur 2010/06/23 13:59:24
    SAT is biased against all who lack the proper education required to survive in most of our universities. If our public shools teach all races alike then race should have nothing to do with it. Some shools in NYC that are almost exclusively black have graduates on average that are far superior in knowladge than the student from prosperous naighborhoods. (Lincoln High School for example with 10,000 students)
  • Sandy 2010/06/23 13:53:55
    Is is the white Americans' fault that the people in "underprivileged minority neighborhoods" (the hood) change the English language so much so that the average white person doesn't understand what they are saying? If this researcher's findings are true, haven't they done it to themselves by twisting the meaning of common words? Is that the fault of the SAT's? No! African-Americans have put themselves at a disadvantage by not using the English language as it was meant to be used.
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