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更新时间:2020-5-31 8:05:19 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名 浏览:

Will the Coronavirus Kill College Admissions Tests?

If you’re a healthy, childless adult, it can be easy to forget one of the most exquisite ways in which things could always be worse: You could be applying to college.


With the pandemic disrupting testing dates, many schools across the country have made the SAT and ACT optional for this year’s applicants. And last week, the University of California system, which includes some of the nation’s best schools, went even further by voting to phase out the tests entirely by 2025.

由于疫情扰乱了考试日期,全国各地许多学校都将今年的申请者的SAT和ACT考试列为可选考试。上周,包括全国一些最好学校的加州大学(University of California)系统甚至更进一步,投票决定在2025年之前完全取消这些考试。

The decision was in some ways a long time coming: For decades, the exams have been accused of being “extremely flawed and very unfair,” as a member of the California system’s governing board put it. But will eliminating the tests actually make the college admissions process fairer for disadvantaged students, or will what replaces them be even worse? Here’s what people are saying.


Why ‘unfair’?


The history of standardized tests is rooted in discrimination, as Endiya Griffin explains at TeenVogue. The SAT’s origins can be traced back to World War I, when a young psychologist by the name of Carl Brigham helped develop a mental aptitude test for the U.S. Army to screen recruits. Brigham, a Princeton professor and avid eugenicist, used the results to justify his belief in “the intellectual superiority of the Nordic race” and to warn against the “infiltration of white blood into the Negro.” In the 1920s, he adapted the test for college admissions.

恩迪亚·格里芬(Endiya Griffin)在《TeenVogue》杂志上解释说,标准化测试的历史植根于歧视。SAT的起源可以追溯到第一次世界大战,当时一位名叫卡尔·布里格姆(Carl Brigham)的年轻心理学家帮助美国陆军开发了一种用于筛选新兵的心理能力测试。布里格姆是普林斯顿大学的教授,也是狂热的优生学家,他使用这些测试的结果来证明其“北欧人种智力更优越”的观点,并且警告“黑人对白人血统的渗透”。1920年代,他将该测试调整为大学入学考试。

Today, as my colleague Shawn Hubler notes, many critics of standardized tests continue to view them as racially and economically discriminatory in effect, if no longer in intent:

如今,正如我的同事肖恩·休伯勒(Shawn Hubler)指出的,许多标准化考试的批评者仍然认为,尽管并非刻意,但它们在种族和经济方面仍然具有歧视性:

• In 2019, 55 percent of Asian-American test takers and 45 percent of white test takers scored 1200 or higher on the SAT. For Hispanic and black students, those numbers were 12 percent and 9 percent.

• 2019年,55%的亚裔考生和45%的白人考生的SAT成绩达到1200分或更高。而西班牙裔和黑人学生这个数字分别是12%和9%。

• SAT scores also correlate with income: In general, students from wealthier families — who tend to reap the benefits of better-funded schools and can pay thousands of dollars for private coaching and test prep — do better than those from lower-income ones. At poverty levels, the scoring disparity is twice as large for black students than for white ones. (And of course if you’re rich enough, you can simply try buying a better score, though results may vary.)

• SAT分数也同收入相关:总体而言,来自富裕家庭的学生比来自低收入家庭的学生成绩更好——他们往往能在资金充裕的学校中获益,并且有能力支付数千美元的私人辅导和备考费用。贫困给黑人学生造成的分数差距是白人学生的两倍。(当然,如果你足够有钱,可以直接买到更好的分数,尽管结果可能发生变化。)

High school grades would be a fairer metric by which to evaluate students, the author Paul Tough argues in The Times. Compared with SAT scores, high school G.P.A.s don’t track nearly as strongly with family income or race, according to a recent study. Relying on grades would reward “strivers,” who have good grades but don’t perform as well on standardized tests, while penalizing “slackers,” who test well but don’t put much effort into school. “An impressive high school G.P.A. reflects a combination of innate talent and dedicated hard work, and that’s exactly what you need to excel in college,” he says.

作者保罗·托夫(Paul Tough)在时报上指出,高中成绩是评估学生的一个更公平的指标。根据最近的一项研究,与SAT分数相比,高中GPA分数与家庭收入或种族方面的关联更少。按成绩评估会奖励“发奋者”——拥有好成绩但在标准化考试中表现不佳,同时会惩罚“懒惰者”——标准化考试考得好但在学校并不是很努力。他说:“令人眼前一亮的高中GPA反映了内在才能和勤奋努力的结合,而这正是在大学中脱颖而出所需要的。”

And if the SAT and ACT were unfair before the pandemic, they’re probably even more so now, Linda K. Wertheimer writes for The Boston Globe. The companies behind both tests are planning to roll out online options, but many low-income students lack internet access, and cheating concerns abound.

琳达·K·沃特海默(Linda K. Wertheimer)为《波士顿环球报》(The Boston Globe)撰文写道,如果说在疫情之前SAT和ACT是不公平的,那么现在可能更不公平。两项测试背后的公司都计划推出线上考试的选择,但是许多低收入学生没有互联网连接,并且存在很多对作弊的担忧。

Is the alternative worse?


Flawed as they are, standardized tests are still the least unfair metric of evaluating college applicants, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett argues in The Times. The SAT and ACT have plenty of issues, she admits, but grades may do even less to level the playing field because of how variable they are: Nearly half of high school students who graduated in 2016 had at least an A- average, but an admissions officer may give an A- from a struggling public school in Mississippi less weight than one from Phillips Academy, even though grade inflation is worse at wealthier and whiter schools. Other application components — personal essays, recommendation letters from illustrious mentors, calls from well-connected college counselors — also favor students from richer families.

伊丽莎白·库里德·哈尔克特(Elizabeth Currid-Halkett)在时报上说,尽管存在缺陷,但标准化考试仍然是评估大学申请者最公平的指标。她承认,SAT和ACT有很多问题,但由于成绩的变化无常,在公平竞争方面可能起的作用甚至更少:2016年毕业的近一半的高中学生至少获得A-的平均成绩,尽管在较富裕和白人为主的学校里,成绩虚高的情况更严重,但招生官员给来自密西西比州困难公立学校的A-的权重还是会比菲利普斯学院的A-要少。申请中的其他部分——个人论文、杰出导师的推荐信、人脉丰富的大学顾问的致电——也给了富裕家庭学生优势。

“This is not a defense of the status quo, but rather a plea to deeply consider what colleges will weigh more heavily if they don’t consider standardized tests in their admissions decisions,” she writes. “Generalized, unfair distinctions, which are often a result of socioeconomic biases, can often be overcome by the counterweight of strong standardized test scores from students in public schools perceived as middling or underperforming.”


In fact, that’s exactly what the University of California system recently found, as The Los Angeles Times editorial board has pointed out. In February, a task force commissioned by the faculty senate to study the impact of standardized tests reported that they predict college success more effectively than high school grades or other measures and actually give a leg up to black, Latino and low-income students by offering an additional metric for admissions officers who might otherwise reject them. That report was unanimously endorsed by the university assembly last month.

实际上,正如《洛杉矶时报》(The Los Angeles Times)编委会所指出的,这正是加利福尼亚大学招生系统最近发现的情况。2月,由学术评议会委托的一个工作组研究了标准化考试的影响,报告说它们比高中成绩或其他指标更有效地预测大学的成功,而实际上通过提供一种另外的标准,让黑人、拉美裔和低收入学生拥有更多优势,从而避开招生官潜在的拒绝。大学议会上个月一致支持了该报告。

“For now, UC should keep the test scores,” the Los Angeles Times editorial board argued after the report’s release. “Doing otherwise because of political or legal pressure or even personal beliefs would belie the very foundation of great universities, which pride themselves on open-minded inquiry and fact-based decision making.”


A superficial solution?


Fixing standardized testing treats only the symptoms of educational inequality, wrote Andre M. Perry for Brookings last year. Its cause, he said, is the racial wealth gap, which stems from slavery, segregation, racism and economic exploitation, and would require much more ambitious policy efforts to close. “I’m all for acknowledging wealth disparities wherever we can, but policymakers and institutional leaders shouldn’t forget that programs that directly attempt to close the wealth gap will have more bearing on how students score on a standardized test,” he argued. “We should be trying to level the playing field by providing historically disenfranchised people opportunities to build wealth rather than retrofitting test results around inequality.”

安德鲁·M·佩里(Andrew M. Perry)去年在布鲁金斯学会(Brookings)上撰文说,拿标准化考试开刀对于解决教育不平等只是治标不治本。他说,造成这种不平等的原因是种族贫富差距,它源于奴隶制度、种族隔离、种族主义和经济剥削,因此需要出台更加雄心勃勃的政策才能消除。“我完全认同贫富差距无处不在,但政策制定者和机构领导者不应忘记,直接试图缩小贫富差距的方案将对学生在标准化考试中的得分产生更大的影响,”他说。“要想创造公平竞争的环境,我们应该通过向历史上被剥夺权利的人们提供积累财富的机会,而不是围绕着不平等来重新调整测试分数。”

Then again, if the United States were more egalitarian, it might not place so much weight on college admissions in the first place. The Yale Law professor Daniel Markovits has argued that the bigger flaw of America’s hypercompetitive college admissions process is not in the method of measuring merit but rather in the meritocratic ideal itself. Meritocracy, in his view, inevitably produces a “durable, self-sustaining hierarchy” that uses notions of worthiness to rationalize itself. If a low-income student sees getting into Harvard or Yale as one of the few avenues of socioeconomic mobility, it’s at least in some small part because places like Harvard and Yale exist.

可是话又说回来,如果美国更平等的话,那么它可能一开始就不会把大学招生放在如此重要的位置。耶鲁大学法学教授丹尼尔·马科维茨(Daniel Markovits)主张,美国竞争过于激烈的大学录取过程的最大弊端不是衡量成绩的方法,而是在于精英主义理想本身。在他看来,精英制度不可避免地产生了一种“持久的、自我维持的等级制度”,它利用价值观念来使自身合理化。如果低收入的学生把进入哈佛或耶鲁大学视为社会经济地位流动的少数途径之一,那么至少这在一定程度上是出于哈佛和耶鲁的存在。

“Meritocracy has created a competition that, even when everyone plays by the rules, only the rich can win,” Mr. Markovits wrote in The Atlantic last year. Rather than perfecting the tests used to determine whether someone deserves a place among the elite, he suggests “building a society in which a good education and good jobs are available to a broader swath of people — so that reaching the very highest rungs of the ladder is simply less important.”