“The Test and the Art of Thinking,” a probing documentary by Michael Arlen Davis, explores the complicated history of the SAT and ACT
,tests that still bring shivers to the souls long after they were taken (and mine were taken a long, long, time ago in a galaxy far away).
Although proponents of the SAT, the focus of the film, exclaim to the high heavens that it was never intended to be an IQ test but instead a measure of qualitative thinking, others would argue to the contrary. Originally devised in 1926 by Carl Brigham of Princeton to level the so-called playing field and measure raw intellectual ability and open colleges to those who were unable to attend the elite prep schools that were feeders to the Ivys, it was just another form of IQ test that fed into the Eugenics thinking of the day. Eugenics was a field that expounded on the racial superiority of Nordics and pointed the way toward eliminating the genetic traits of the inferior races. No doubt Brigham believed his test would find those superior beings whose genetic intellectual superiority should be identified. That the SAT is biased in terms of race, ethnicity, and cultural differences was built into it from the beginning. It is significant to note that Brigham eventually disavowed Eugenics and his research into it.
Read the full piece here.