Critical Race Theory

It is almost like there has not been a demand to fix it.
Or it is not fixable.

Which one do you think is more likely?

Or is it both?

The concept that standardized tests measure anything worthwhile.

The only thing that standardized tests measure is one’s ability to take the particular standardized tests.

Any attempt to use them to measure intelligence, preparedness for college or level of knowledge on a specific subject is a fools errand.

They measure something.

Whether that something is better measured some other way is of course a fair question.

I’ll go with SV’s response. SAT scores have positive correlations with things that colleges care about – returning for a second year, grades.

Whether they add additional correlations if you are already looking at __ is more debatable.

And, if we’re going to throw away standardized tests because they have racially disparate results, what will we use instead, that doesn’t have the same flaw?


I think the even more pertinent question is what kinds of values we as a society are supporting by a particular use of standardized
tests, and whether those are the values that we want to support?

Modern science can be anti authoritarian because it advocates knowledge based only experience and reason instead of some societal authority. This is the science we tend to learn about in grade school, which lead to liberal democracy through the enlightenment.

But science can just as easily support power structures by obscuring our choices behind a seeming objectivity.

To me, the answer is not that facts do not exist, or that objectivity does not exist. Supposedly, this is one emphasis of actual CRT, that “lived experience and story-telling are primary ways of revealing racism.”

Instead we have to recognize that our choice of facts is value laden, our theories are always value laden to some degree, and we often will measure objective facts about environments we choose to create. We need to understand the interplay between objective facts and willful choices.

I disagree that SAT/ACT are still this way. There are many papers supporting each side of the argument. There are still too many people (not you) claiming that the uneven outcomes must be because “racism”.

Schools are moving away from these tests because of the claims of racism based on the outcomes, not because of the evidence. Also, Covid was a large factor in the optionality of entrance exams. But these moves also show the schools “support educational equity”.

Part of the issue, also, imo, is that we don’t always have an alternative.

Without standardized tests, we tend to act as though students have no individual needs, and they all need to learn the same things, in the same way, at the same time…

That could be desirable, but it should be understood.

I’ve seen these claims.
I need to see if this is still happening with actual data and reasoning.

One major question is, why are some minorities not taught how to take the standardized exams? (Surely there are some some minorities who are, possibly by their parents as extra teaching).
I mean, that is how you get a better exam score, which helps one get into a “better” college.
Or, are they, but they STILL cannot get a better score, cuz racism?

You ask a complex question. The simplified answer is two fold. First, school districts with a large minority population are disparately low income and less well funded. Funding in these schools is better spent trying to get the kids to come to school and graduate rather then teach them how to take a test. Second, because of the low income levels, it becomes difficult for minority children to do extra work outside of school such as hiring tutors to teach testing strategies or to take the tests multiple times.

Teaching testing strategies does work to raise overall ACT scores for a school. Where my spouse teaches, they teach ACT testing in every freshman, sophomore, and junior class to prepare them for the ACT. The score improvement was shocking. Not all districts have the resources to offer this.


The problem is if you are in an excessively poor district where kids do not have books at home, parents do not speak the language spoken in school, etc., test taking strategies are not going to bridge the gap. Some of the kids my daughter works with don’t even have their own beds. One family has 8 children under 18, one belonging to the 17yo and another on the way. I don’t even know how to begin to address the issues those kids have. They are smart kids, but the 8yo can’t read, having missed so much school during 2020 & 2021.

Yeah, there exist obstacles that no school can even hope to overcome. There’s only so many problems the government can solve.

And… if the point is that family and schools are failing to educate some minorities, then it seems pretty silly to blame the SATs for revealing this.

And to the extent that it’s about poverty-- then I kind of disagree with Twig, it’s exactly the kind of problem that the government can solve. Like, ideally, a school is everything your home is not.

(assuming it is well funded, etc.)


I think part of the controversy is when the claim that these are aptitude tests. One meaning of aptitude is “natural ability.” It’s easy to understand it as a kind of intelligence test, particularly the sat.

I think these is now less emphasis on this interpretation. Instead, they are supposed to be predictive of college performance, which is a much weaker claim.

Unless we’re going to fund to the extent of individual tutoring, I don’t think schools can overcome parents. They can reduce the differences somewhat. But, if kids come to school with behavior issues or just overhanging worries about home, we have a tough time dealing with that in normal classroom.

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I think they do fund tutors, sometimes. My kid’s principal talked about potentially sending a tutor after we missed many days. We are in a middle income and racially mixed area. I have no idea how common that is.

I think more reasonable/common is having after school programs.

I’m not saying it’s perfect, I just think school really is meant to replace home. Every hour there is an hour not with a bad family.

I’m surprised you are an actuary, given your feelings on standardized tests.

fwiw, I think that the standardized actuarial exams are one of the reasons this field is friendlier to women than many similar fields. Everyone knows that I didn’t get my FCAS due to some kind of “let’s hire a woman” sentiment, and I’ve never felt my competence was seriously challenged, professionally. My friends in IT relate very different experiences.

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Standardized tests to determine competency for a specific field such as actuarial, medical, engineering, etc. seems quite different than a generalized test like the SAT/ACT where scores are used to determine who does and does not get into specific colleges in a field of study that may or may not relate in some way to seemingly random knowledge that the SAT/ACT test.


Government can try to do things to reduce the quantity of abuse, neglect, malnutrition, addiction and more that children in poorer households are disproportionately subject to, and the differing levels of parental involvement, but there’s only so much they can do.

The kid whose parent speaks grammatically correct English, reads with them every night, who quizzes the child on their spelling words and math tables, the kid who gets three nutritious meals a day, who was born not addicted to any substances and has two non-addict parents involved in their life and encouraging them to do their best, reminding them to do their homework and study for tests and checking up on assignments, the kid whose physical and emotional needs are being met and who has never been neglected or abused… that kid is just going to have advantages over kids who are dealing with one or more of those issues.

And while those issues don’t track perfectly with family income, there is certainly a correlation. And government programs just aren’t going to undo all of those obstacles.

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Of course they won’t. But you seem to be expressing in terms of “well in won’t ever make things totally equal so why even bother?”. I’m sure that’s NOT your intention but it is how your posts on the subject have been coming off to me.

Which posts come across that way? I’ve read all my posts in this thread back to last July and I’m curious which ones seem to imply that we shouldn’t work toward improvement.

“We shouldn’t expect to eliminate all socio-economic differences” is a pretty different position from “we shouldn’t take reasonable steps to assist lower income kids”.

I say “reasonable” because I’m sure that if we did things like put an all-expenses paid highly qualified super-nanny in every home below the federal poverty level that would benefit kids immensely, but that’s obviously beyond the scope of any realistic government program.