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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 23, 2011 / 24 Elul, 5771

Standardized Testing Under Attack … Again

By Linda Chavez



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As predictably as fall marks the beginning of the new school year in campuses across the country, so, too, does it usher in new attacks on standardized testing. The 2011 version comes in the form of a new book, "SAT Wars," a collection of essays that purports to be an authoritative account of the controversy over one particular test used by most selective universities in their admissions process. But far from being an unbiased account of the pros and cons of using any standardized test — much less the SAT, one of the most thoroughly studied, modified, and continuously validated tests in history — the book is really an attack on standardized testing per se.

Currently, the overwhelming majority of selective schools require that students submit their SAT scores or the alternative ACT, when they apply for admission. The test is used as one measure among several — usually including high school grades, class rankings, teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, application essays, and other factors — to choose among applicants. But a move to make the SAT optional has taken hold at some selective schools. At Bowdoin College in Maine and Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts, those students who choose to do so still submit their scores, but those who don't wish to, do not. Naturally, students who score less well than they had hoped are more likely to opt out of submitting scores.

The movement away from requiring the SAT has picked up steam in the last few years, ostensibly driven by the desire to increase racial and ethnic diversity at colleges. If it's true, this would be troubling enough, since the desire to achieve a predetermined ethnic or racial mix should play no role in determining who gets into college. But, in any event, the real motive behind the SAT-optional movement is more complicated and self-serving.

It is true that, on average, SAT scores for whites and Asians exceed those for blacks and Hispanics. The mean combined SAT score for math and reading for whites in 2010 was 1064; for Asians, 1076; for Hispanics, 914; and for blacks, 857. For years, critics of the test have argued — without much evidence — that these score disparities prove that the test is biased. The Education Testing Service, which administers the SAT, as well as other standardized tests used in college and graduate school admissions, has worked strenuously over the years to ensure that no racial or cultural bias creeps into the questions on the test. Moreover, ETS has spent a great deal of time and money recalibrating the tests and validating them to prove that test scores accurately predict academic success in college.

Although some of the essays in "SAT Wars" argue that both racial and gender bias is built into the test, there is little hard evidence to back the claim. Not only do SATs predict first-year college grades reasonably well, but their predictive value also continues throughout students' tenure, according to a carefully done meta-analysis of several studies by M.A. Vey and others in 2003. And rather than underestimating subsequent performance for minority students, SAT scores actually slightly over-predict how well black students will perform once in college.

So why are increasing numbers of selective schools deciding to make the test optional for applicants? The motive may have less to do with promoting diversity than it does with promoting higher college rankings by the schools that have gone SAT-optional.

Since the 1980s, U.S. News & World Report's annual issue announcing the rankings of competitive colleges and universities has become the most popular way to determine the quality and standards of America's colleges. Although SAT scores ostensibly count for only 10 percent of the overall ranking, a study of the correlation between average SAT scores and college ranking showed that there was an almost perfect correlation (.89) between the two. Thus, if lower-scoring students choose not to submit their scores at schools that permit it, the school's ranking may stay artificially high, even as the quality of the students admitted drops.

Standardized testing for college admissions began as way to level the playing field for students of ability to overcome whatever social or economic disadvantages they might have had when applying to elite schools. Traditionally, elite schools relied less on how academically promising the applicants were and more on whether they were well-connected. It is high irony now that those who most want to eliminate standardized testing do so claiming that they are promoting fairness — when in fact they're still only promoting themselves.

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JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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