Segments in this Video

Introduction: Should the SAT Be Erased? (02:50)


Moderator John Donvan outlines the debate topic and introduces panelists. Georgetown Law Professor Sheryll Cashin and Author and Academic Fredrik deBoer state their positions.

College Admissions Tool (09:40)

The SAT only predicts first year academic performance and heavily correlates to wealth. Racial and class stratification exists in all educational data. Panelists disagree on the efficacy of using GPA as an indicator.

SAT Indicator (09:46)

DeBoer believes the SAT screens in a particular population and screens out a particular privileged population; parents can "lean on" GPAs. Cashin supports an SAT optional movement and looking holistically at a student's file; universities should be forced to be equality innovators.

2020\2021 Admissions Cycle (09:13)

DeBoer cautions against using the pandemic to draw conclusions. He discusses the negative impact of competitive college admissions, affirmative action, and university self-interest. Cashin states that the applicant pool at selective universities became more diverse during the pandemic; optional testing makes the system fairer.

Accurate Predictor? (06:58)

Panelists discuss the results of a SAT Twitter poll. Cashin believes the SAT is a tool for opportunity hoarding and exclusion. Panelists recall taking the SATs.

Student "Quality" (06:17)

A study suggests that students with high SAT scores are less "other regarding." Cashin considers what should count as merit and how to identify students that exhibit those qualities.

SAT Optional (04:31)

More students voluntarily took the SAT in the last cycle than in the previous year, believing it would provide an advantage. We have a responsibility to address racial and socioeconomic inequalities. Universities were not founded on the goal of being just societal partners.

Intelligence Squared (01:13)

Donvan thanks panelists and listeners, encourages continued funding of the program, and cites the names of key individuals. IQ2 works to combat extreme polarization through civil discourse.

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Agree to Disagree: Should the SAT Be Erased?: A Debate

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In 2021, 1.5 million high school students in the United States took the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), down from 2.2 million the year before. The Covid-19 pandemic played a big role in the decision among many schools to cancel the test, and led many to question the role and importance of standardized exams like the SAT and the American College Testing (ACT). Currently, more than 75 percent of colleges don't require students to take the SAT or ACT. That’s an all-time high, with many schools pledging not to return to them. But is that the right move? Supporters of the SAT defend standardized tests because they level the playing field for rich and poor students across the country and provide opportunities for smart, capable individuals from underresourced communities to get into top colleges. Eliminating such tests could increase inequities, they argue, and make it harder for students from less advantaged backgrounds to get an advanced education. Critics of the SAT, however, question the efficacy of standardized tests and their ability to gauge students' intelligence and achievements, arguing that they can be culturally biased and only measure limited academic qualities. They can also enhance disparities between richer and poorer students, they contend, with more affluent ones able to access resources—such as tutors and special classes—to achieve higher scores. Should the SAT be erased? Audio only.

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: FMK283505

Copyright date: ©2022

Closed Captioned

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