Freddie deBoer:

Elite American colleges are already more racially diverse than the country writ large, but the perpetual cry is for more people of colour on campus. This is the source of the most persistent criticisms of the SAT. The broad claim about the SAT is that, since there are race and class disparities in SAT scores — white and Asian pupils score better than Hispanic and black, and rich better than poor — then the test must be discriminatory and should be abolished.

This is a bit like blaming seismographs for earthquakes. The SAT does not create inequality; the SAT reveals inequality.

Not a bit like blaming seismographs for earthquakes, almost exactly like that. (Also very much like trying to keep cases of Covid down by limiting testing.) 

I’ve said this before, but anyway: Administrators at elite American universities say they want to reduce race and class disparities in America, and let’s take them at their word (even though, as Freddie shows in that essay and elsewhere on his blog, there are actually good reasons for not taking them at their word). Adjusting their admissions policies won’t do that. It will help only a handful of people who are, for the most part, already ahead of the game. 

What they should do instead is devote a fraction of their enormous financial and intellectual resources to helping younger people out of poverty. The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools are not now what John Dewey intended them to be, and even Dewey’s original vision was far too politicized, but a more genuinely pedagogical version of that endeavor ought to be a model. Our elite universities ought to be asking themselves what they can do to help educate kids so that those kids can eventually do much better than they now do on the SAT and other standardized tests. Instead they want to toss out the tests that reveal the problems we face. 

In general — this is a broad statement, but I really do believe it’s true — all of our major social problems remain intractable largely because we we think we can somehow, magically, achieve “equality of outcomes” without finding out why the existing outcomes are so unequal, and therefore without considering how existing injustices might be ameliorated and future ones headed off. Denouncing unwelcome outcomes is cheap and easy; but there is no law more universally applicable than GIGO