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Child Futures. New Jersey. Children Born in California (1999). Children Born in Los Angeles (1999). . Foster Care and UC. California Median Family Income. White $45,100 Latino $23,600 African American $26,400 Asian $42,000. What is the SAT?.

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california median family income
California Median Family Income

White $45,100

Latino $23,600

African American $26,400

Asian $42,000

what is the sat

What is the SAT?

When was it developed. What is the history?

See: The Big Test, by Nicholas Lermann



The origin of the SAT is found in the early history of research on genetics and intelligence.

The early pioneers were Francis Galton and Thorndike. Galton’s work examined heredity and genetics.

Hereditary Genius, by Galton (1869)

Benet administered first IQ test 1905


EugenicsGalton, Thorndike, and more currently Murray“They thought of intelligence as being by far the most important human trait; they believed it was genetically inherited; they believed that the world’s dark-skinned races were inferior in intelligence to its lighter skinned ones; and they were concerned that unintelligent people were reproducing at a more rapid rate than intelligent ones, which would ultimately bring down the IQ of the entire human species.”p. 23


IQ testing The first large scale administration of a mental test occurred during World War I. Harvard Professor Robert Yerkes administered a test to more than 2 million recruits to help identify officer candidates. The data from this provided a major data base for analyzing mental test instruments. What was on the tests:

pick out the antonyms from among the four words obdurate spurious ductile recondite

Pick out the antonyms from among the four words: obdurate spurious ductile recondite

Say which word, or both or neither, has the same meaning as the first word

Impregnable terile vacuous

nominal exorbitant didactic

By 1926 the Army test had metamorphosed into the SAT.The Scholastic Aptitude Test.The bulk of the test was devoted to word familiarity.

Carl Campbell Brigham (A Study of American Intelligence)Author of the first SAT.“held that there were three distinct white races in Europe—in descending order of intelligence, Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean—and that the United States was initially and successfully populated by the highest but was now being filled up with the lowest. Mediterraneans were not only immigrating but also reproducing in alarming numbers. On the Army IQ tests, Nordics scored higher than Alpines, who scored higher than Mediterraneans. [on the tests] the native-born scored higher than the foreign born, less recent immigrants scored higher than more recent immigrants, and whites scored higher than Negroes.” Lehmann (1999, p. 30)


Carl Campbell Brigham (A Study of American Intelligence)Author of the first SAT.“There were ironclad natural laws at work here, Brigham felt, and he warned that wishful thinkers who pretend otherwise were deluding themselves—writing for example: “Our figures, then, would rather tend to disprove the popular belief that the Jew is highly intelligent.” Brigham’s stern conclusion:“American intelligence is declining, and will proceed with an accelerating rate as the racial admixture becomes more and more extensive . . . These are the plain, if somewhat ugly, facts that our study shows.”Lehmann (1999, p. 30)


Carl Campbell Brigham “In 1930 he published a formal retraction of his book, A Study of American Intelligence, calling it “pretentious” and “without foundation.”His next book was titled, A Study of Error (1932) and concluded: “The test movement came to this country some twenty-five or thirty years ago accompanied by one of the most glorious fallacies in the history of science, namely, that the tests measured native intelligence purely and simply and without regard to training or schooling. .. The native intelligence hypothesis is dead.”

What does the SAT measure?It is not a blood test.It does not determine IQ from DNA.It asks a series of questions.

What does the SAT measure?It asks a series of multiple choice questions.The questions are not related to subjects studied– they are national tests of “aptitude.”

  • What gives these tests their face validity.
    • IQ is inherited. This explains why some children are mentally retarded.
    • Like physical skills, mental skills are inherited.
    • Think of a talented athlete, say Michael Jordan, are there tests that can prove he will be a great basketball player?
athletic skills
Athletic Skills
  • 50 yard dash
  • Standing jump
  • Bench press
  • Can some combination of these measures differentiate or identify Michael Jordon?
pygmalion in the classroom
Pygmalion in the Classroom
  • Robert Rosenthal and Leonore Jacobson gave an intelligence test to all of the students at an elementary school at the beginning of the school year.
  • They then selected 20 percent of the students at random - without any regard to their intelligence test results - and told the teachers that these students could be expected to "bloom" or "spurt" in their academics that year. At the end of the year, they came back and re-tested all the students.
  • Those labeled as "bloomers" gained an average of 12 IQ points compared to a gain of 8 points for the unlabeled group.

Rosenthal, R., and Jacobson, L. (1968). Pygmalion in the Classroom. New York: Rinehart and Winston.