The SAT Test – an unquestioned tradition?

The SAT Test – an unquestioned tradition?

The SAT Test – an unquestioned tradition?

The SAT Test – like many other unquestioned traditions – has a tremendous impact on our current education systems – public, private, and home school.  Most colleges require the test.

The SAT has a significant influence on students, too – and the families that help them study — and all those who put significant weight on the scores earned on the test.

You may have read this information in Seth Godin’s manifesto “Stop Stealing Dreams.”  I read it again from time to time; it’s like jumping in a really cold swimming pool.

This is the history of the SAT, as reprinted from Mr. Godin’s research, (written prior to 2014 – as you will discover):

Frederick J. Kelly and your nightmares

In 1914, a professor in Kansas invented the multiple-choice test. Yes, it’s less than a hundred years old. 

There was an emergency on. World War I was ramping up, hundreds of thousands of new immigrants needed to be processed and educated, and factories were hungry for workers. The government had just made two years of high school mandatory, and we needed a temporary, high-efficiency way to sort students and quickly assign them to appropriate slots.

In the words of Professor Kelly, “This is a test of lower order thinking for the lower orders.”

A few years later, as President of the University of Idaho, Kelly disowned the idea, pointing out that it was an appropriate method to test only a tiny portion of what is actually taught and should be abandoned. The industrialists and the mass educators revolted and he was fired.

The SAT, the single most important filtering device used to measure the effect of school on each individual, is based (almost without change) on Kelly’s lower-order thinking test. Still.

The reason is simple. Not because it works. No, we do it because it’s the easy and efficient way to keep the mass production of students moving forward.”

Thank you Seth Godin; it matters. So do many other false traditions that are part of the foundation and the blue-print for our current school systems – public, private, and home school.

Look for upcoming blogposts on a few of these false traditions that have a staggering impact on our children and our culture:

  • adolescence (“invented” about the same time as the SAT)
  • self-help (first referenced in 1831 in a legal context)
  • grade levels and separate middle and high schools
  • celebrating compliance (contrasted with obedience)
  • celebrating performance (contrasted with learning and maturity)

We can build our future on truth instead of just tradition. We’re digging deep to begin these new traditions – based on what we know to be true in theology, neurology, and educational philosophies that align with these truths.  Read more about our work in these blog posts

What if school – and life – could be different?

Trusting Grace in Education

Christian Education – as radical as the Gospel

Mistakes – Why our traditional educational approach may not be helpful

I made a mistake

Read more about our dream and the research we continue to do.  We’d love to hear from you – your questions, encouragement, disagreements…  Maybe you want to help?  Contact us – let’s start a conversation.