Shermann The Atlantic Analysis

Decent Essays
According to The Atlantic, Lemann “was the first journalist to be given access to ETS’s archives.” This access allowed him to form an educated opinion on the ETS, the SAT, and the meritocratic system it formed. To further his argument about the distorted purpose of the SAT, Lemann explains, in an interview with The Atlantic, one key flaw of Conant’s meritocratic system, saying, “If you set up a selection system that puts people in line for fantastic rewards, how do you ensure that these people will be public servants as opposed to pursuing only their private interests?” (Measure of Merit). After personally reading Conant’s hopes for the SAT’s system, Lemann reveals the lack of thought behind it. Conant not only wanted his elite to replace…show more content…
After analyzing extensive research done by Jay Rosner, executive director of the Princeton Review, Young concludes, “They’re not racists. The test company uses a completely neutral, colorblind system for picking questions. However, that system predictably, consistently, and reliably yields questions that favor whites dramatically over other subgroups” (Young). Young’s thoughts contradict Lemann’s opinion that EST purposely chooses racial preference questions. Instead of blaming the people at EST for such a wide score gap, Young blames the process of choosing which questions to put on the test. He presents an alternate view to racial bias on the SAT than what Lemann presents in his book. He explains how the question-choosing process is based off of reliability, that “reliable questions will be the those on which those who score highest overall do consistently well, and on which with low scores do consistently poor” (Young). Ultimately, those reliable questions will remain on the SAT and statistically, Caucasians will almost always score higher than any subgroup, even though “some minority students may score higher on those questions” (Young). Both he and Lemann agree that because of this, the SAT scores will always underestimate a subgroup’s…show more content…
According to Zwick’s research, “Academic researchers investigate the fairness of the SAT based on how well it predicts college grades for each racial group” (321). Rather than arguing for racial bias on the SAT like Lemann, Zwick argues that such bias does not exist. Unlike Lemann, she does not believe that the SAT underestimates racial subgroup’s scores, rather, she claims “ [that] SAT scores tend to predict higher college grades than were actually attained by African-American, Latin, and American Indian students and lower grades than were actually attained by Asian American and white students” (321). Zwick explains how the SAT helps minorities get into the college of their choice, not how it hinders them. In fact, in the UC system, “the main barrier of all ethnic groups in admissions is the failure to complete college preparatory courses” (324). Now she qualifies her argument by agreeing with Lemann on the way to successfully and efficiently integrate students of all ethnicities into colleges: “improve K-12 education so that college applicants will be better prepared for the SAT” (324). By making a strong, uniform high school curriculum, all students will be equipped with the core fundamentals of learning, which will better their chances of joining the elite. Like Lemann, she desires to help the meritocratic system become a fair system for all
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