June 3, 2013

Did Senator Schumer really get a perfect 1600 SAT score?

SAT prep guru Stanley H. Kaplan,
Schumer's teacher, boss, and mentor
Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of the Gang of Eight is almost universally said to have gotten a perfect 1600 on his SAT score in the mid-1960s. Yet, single-sitting 1600s were vanishingly rare before SAT scoring was made easier in 1995: annually, perhaps single digit or very low double digit numbers of students in the entire country.

Schumer seems like a very, very smart guy, but what were the odds he was really Top Ten in the USA smart? 

The only voice I can find online that says that maybe Schumer didn't score 1600 is the late test prep entrepreneur Stanley H. Kaplan, who wrote in his autobiography:
"Charles Schumer, now the senior U.S. senator from New York, worked in my printing office while he was in high school. I should have known then that he would aspire to high office because he would read the materials as they came off the copy machine to check to see whether I had made any mistakes. He studied while he worked. His SAT score was close to a perfect 1600."

So, Kaplan says Schumer scored "close to a perfect 1600," which sounds more likely.

The Kaplan businesses keep the Washington Post afloat these days, so we're supposed to treat Kaplan's big breakthrough as a great thing, but test prep is pretty much of a negative sum game. We'd be better off if test prep had never been invented.

Also, didn't Kaplan start out as kind of a scam where he had high school students who worked for him write down immediately after the test all the questions they could remember, and thus Kaplan overwhelmed the Educational Testing Service, which was unprepared at the time to vary questions often enough for Kaplan-groomed test-takers? (It's much the same system of cheating in essence as the one that South Koreans have perfected recently.)

Malcolm Gladwell wrote in the New Yorker in 2001:
So Kaplan would have “Thank Goodness It’s Over” pizza parties after each S.A.T. As his students talked about the questions they had faced, he and his staff would listen and take notes, trying to get a sense of how better to structure their coaching.

That seems more than a little bit of naive way to phrase this activity. Kaplan and his employees were writing down the questions. You know what's a better way to structure their coaching? Tell students what a lot of the questions and answers are going to be.
“Every night I stayed up past midnight writing new questions and study materials,” he writes. “I spent hours trying to understand the design of the test, trying to think like the test makers, anticipating the types of questions my students would face.” His notes were typed up the next day, cranked out on a Gestetner machine, hung to dry in the office, then snatched off the line and given to waiting students.

Hey, Schumer was a high school student who worked for Kaplan! In fact, he ran the Gestetner duplicating machine.

From a 2007 New York Observer summary of a not-on-line New Yorker article by Jeffrey Toobin about Chuck Schumer:
In high school, he helped a teacher of his, Stanley Kaplan, get his test-prep business off the ground.

From NPR:
Senator CHUCK SCHUMER (Democrat, New York): Stanley believed that these tests could overcome all the other barriers that, you know, America was ultimately the Ameritocracy. And even if your last name was different and you went to a large, you know, 5,000-person Brooklyn public school, if you could do well on these tests, you could get somewhere. 
SMITH: For Senator Schumer it was a very, very good score and admission to Harvard. 

From the WSJ:
"It was a mom-and-pop operation in those days," said Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat, who worked for Mr. Kaplan for three years while in high school. The future politician operated a mimeograph machine in a small office in a former dentist's suite in Brooklyn. "It was my first job," Mr. Schumer said. "I would go get him dinner at the cafeteria." ... 
"He was regarded as a rebel trying to bring down the whole system," Mr. Schumer said. "It was almost religion that you couldn't study for the aptitude test; that it was like an IQ test. Kaplan believed differently, and he proved them wrong."

From an article in The Forward on Stanley H. Kaplan's funeral:
Across from us sat Schumer, who later confided: “At 14, I worked for Stanley, running a mimeograph machine…. My nickname was ‘Four 800s’ [for acing SAT tests], but don’t quote me!”

"Four 800s"?

From the Washington Post:
He scored "four 800s" on his SAT, he says, including two achievement tests.

So, Schumer is on the record claiming 800s. But does that imply a single-sitting 1600? What we don't know is how many times he took these tests. As Kaplan's protege, Schumer may have taken several tests so he could so he could write down test questions immediately afterwards.

From Schumer's recent book:
"After Madison, I got into Harvard (in part because of those endless hours spent staring at SAT prep material spinning around the mimeo drum)."

The ETS didn't change questions all that often back then. Before Kaplan, gaming the SAT was considered unsporting. As Schumer has explained, he read the SAT questions over and over running Kaplan's mimeo machine. So, he had a huge advantage over other high school students in that more trusting, less cynical, more honor-bound America that Stanley H. Kaplan helped undermine.

Okay, that might explain a lot. You know, sometimes it almost seems as if the world isn't quite as random as we're supposed to believe it is.

In summary, Chuck Schumer may or may not be one of the few hundred smartest people in America as his "Four 800s" self-proclaimed nickname would imply.

But, even more tellingly, he spent the formative years from age 14 to 17 working for Stanley H. Kaplan, the man who built a big business by out-conniving the College Board and the Educational Testing Service.

Graham, McCain, and Rubio ponder how high immigration
will turn out to be under their new bill.
Do you really think Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and 76-year-old John McCain are going to out-connive Schumer?

The devil is in the details of a bill that is now over 1,000 pages long. Who do you think has mastered more of the details: Stanley H. Kaplan's prodigious protege or the GOP's Three Amigos?

Kaplan and Schumer in the mid-1960s were attacking a testing system that assumed that people wouldn't be so unsporting as to try to methodically exploit its weaknesses. Schumer's stated view (see this video) is that he's not all that innately brilliant, he just had a huge advantage in being one of the first in the country to fully exploit Kaplan's system. This was before ETS erected a lot of defenses around their tests due to Kaplan-style prepping.

The question of whether Schumer would have scored "four 800s" without these advantages is less important than the realization that Schumer has just under a half century of experience (going back to when he started working for Kaplan around 1964) of the huge payoffs from methodically exploiting complex but naively constructed systems, such as college admission testing or immigration legislation. This should come as a wake-up call to Republicans who think they can rely on the Republican members of the Eight Banditios to defend GOP interests from Senator Schumer.

101 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always wonder about the actor James Woods. He certainly doesn't seem like a dumb guy, and I find his politics less offensive than most actors. And he did go to MIT. But still...1600?

Anonymous said...

"Hey, Schumer was a high school student who worked for Kaplan! That might explain a lot."

In theory Schumer would have a year between taking the NMSQT and the SAT. But let's say he got a selection index of 220, high enough to achieve semifinalist status but not high enough to be a finalist in NY. He would need to boost an already high verbal score a whole standard deviation and a math score by nearly as much. It might be possible for kids who went into the NMS test clueless, but that wouldn't describe Schumer. He probably went into the NMSQT fully prepped so I'm guessing even an additional year of study would not have paid off much. Certainly not toll free SATs.

I call shenanigans.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


Also, didn't Kaplan start out as kind of a scam where he had high school students who worked for him write down immediately after the test all "


And the British Empire was started by pirates and brigands. Many of our large corporations today owe their origin to robber barons, monopolistic trusts, Nazis or imperial Japanese.All large enterprises can have less than honorable beginnings. Give Kaplan a break.

If it was so easy to crack the SATs, all Kaplan has done is to prove that Emperor has no clothes.
And I suppose thats the real crime

Luke Lea said...

Schumer doesn't strike me as super smart, let alone canny or conniving. Announcing outcomes ahead of time strikes me as naive. He comes across as strangely wooden, stiff, nerdy in a Brooklyn sort of way,colorless, lacking in charm or oratorical skills. When you look at the in the members of the superhighest IQ societies what you see is a lot of eccentric non-performers.

Anonymous said...

Let's not underestimate the chance that Schumer colluded with other students to obtain test questions in advance. In 1967 the US was still a trusting place. The ETS was a heavily WASP establishment which probably didn't fold guys like Schumer and his mentor, Stanley Kaplan, into their methods and procedures.

Dave Pinsen said...

"
Also, didn't Kaplan start out as kind of a scam where he had high school students who worked for him write down immediately after the test all the questions they could remember, and thus Kaplan overwhelmed the Educational Testing Service, which was unprepared at the time to vary questions often enough? (It's much the same system of cheating in essence as the one that South Koreans have perfected recently.)"


This form of "cheating" seems a lot like studying. For it to work for you, you need to have a capacious memory, and the pattern recognition skills to know where to apply what you've memorized. And if you have the memory and the pattern recognition skills, you are already smart.

The scam that Kaplan and other test prep courses run isn't on the ETS but on the students/parents who pay for the test prep. Test prep is really of limited utility. Test prep courses give super-hard sample tests when you start the course, to make you think you improved your score later. With tests of equal difficulty, I doubt you'd see much difference before an after.

Steve Sailer said...

It depends upon how many sets of questions the ETS had back then. If they have four dozen unique sets, then memorizing questions doesn't helpt that much. But if back then they only had, say, four sets, then it would hardly be hard for a bright boy like Schumer to memorize the answers to a large majority of the questions he's be tested upon. After all, he'd proofread the questions for three years.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Lindsay Graham is dumb. I think they have Polaroids of him going down on some guy.

Anonymous said...

The best way to study for the SAT is to read a lot for pleasure. I read a ton in middle school and high school, more than I do now with broadband internet. Back then before broadband we had 56K dial-up and there wasn't Youtube, blogs, etc. on the internet to waste time on. For intellectual stimulation, you had to sit and read books for extended periods. Sitting for hours and reading hundreds of pages in a sitting trains you very well for the SAT Verbal section. You end up knowing all the hard vocab that's tested and the analogies and reading comprehension section become a breeze. Once you're a heavy reader, reading 4 or 5 paragraphs and answering some questions on them becomes trivial.

Anonymous said...

As Schumer has explained, he read the SAT questions over and over running Kaplan's mimeo machine so he had a huge advantage over other high school students in that more trusting, less cynical, more honor-bound America that Stanley H. Kaplan helped undermine.

I don't think it was possible for iSteve to get any more awesome, but it just did. Nice work.

Anonymous said...

So you're still in denial?? The GOP isn't stupid, it's evil.

The only people who are stupid are the shmucks who keep buying the GOP's excuse for ”failure” on every subject (except for those that benefit the rich!) on the grounds that they tried their hardest but (no matter their political strength) just can't defeat those wily Democrats.

Anonymous said...

OT Thomas Sowell's excellent column on Amnesty.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/06/04/_abstract_immigrants_118671-comments.html

Anonymous said...

He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard College in 1971. The list of members is available at http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~pbk/

This guy is clearly very smart. I would not be surprised if he really got 1600




guest007 said...

Steve,

You should write about how the elites of the U.S. are coming out against meritocracy and student achievement. I find it odd that Ivy League trained economist are coming about against low marginal cost, high reward opportunities and want the U.S. to spend more educational resources on the high marginal cost, lowest reward opportunities. http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/06/03/ben_bernanke_on_meritocracy.html?wpisrc=flyouts

Why does the left want to punish middle class and blue collar kids who would be the easiest to teach while putting more resources into the students who probably never succeed.

Anonymous said...

The GOP's reasoning in supporting an amnesty is that this legalization bill is being coupled with a large scale guest worker program. GOP politicians and activists will likely go on to very comfortable corporate careers after the passage of the bill.

Their short term economic interest is served by passing this.

Yes, in the long term, the Republican party will likely be marginalized......... but so what? These politicians will be out of office by then and working as lobbyists or corporate execs.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes iSteve is even more awesome than it already is.

Anonymous said...

I am not American, so forgive me if I don't know a lot about SAT, but I assume these are a national school test standard. Surely these can be looked up as public records, especially the perfect scores.

dearieme said...

"Did Senator Schumer really get a perfect 1600 SAT score?" Of course not: he's a politician; he lies.

Did Ben Franklin really fly a kite and a key into a thunderstorm?

Hunsdon said...

DVN: Sir, are you comparing what the Jews are doing to America to what the British did to India? A tiny foreign population subverting a large nation and subjecting it to their whims and preferences?

Anonymous said...

...he would read the materials as they came off the copy machine to check to see whether I had made any mistakes...

STEVE - You simply must get in touch with this guy, and compare notes:


Why Did The Democrats Pour Everything In Toomey’s Amendment?
by Stranger
Posted on April 27, 2013
extranosalley.com
freerepublic cache

Someone from Pipestone, Minnesota, asked "why did the toomey amendment have all the democrats bills."

Essentially, because the Democrats could. A persistent pattern of misspellings seen in bills introduced by long time anti-gun activist Chucky Schumer is also present in the "background check" part of S.AMDT.715. So the amendment was written by Schumer or his staff, and handed to Manchin to be filed. A hard line "false flag" Democrat, Manchin probably never looked at the Amendment – and would have approved it if he had. And of course Toomey had already been suckered signed on so he had no reason to actually look at what his name is on...

Bostonian said...

The SAT is a high-stakes test, and it is inevitable that people will prepare for it. You can buy used test prep books for $10 on Amazon, and this helps to level the playing field.

If New York City Jews disproportionately benefited from test prep, one would expect them to underperform in college. I have not noticed that pattern.


Cail Corishev said...

There's no question that he's very smart. That's not the point. It's not actually relevant to the immigration debate whether he got a clean 1600, or a couple separate 800s, or settled for 1500 because he was out drinking late the night before. Regardless, he's smart. I don't think many people here would claim that super-smart people are more moral or patriotic anyway.

It's instructive, though, as an example of the way myths -- good and bad -- take on lives of their own and then are used to push policy. Someone writes about how Schumer worked for a test-prep company and could ace the test -- which is kinda like having the fastest hot-rod in town because you work for a mechanic -- and that morphs into his being the smartest boy in all the land. Dan Quayle spells potato wrong on a chalkboard, and that grows into his being an idiot who must be laughed out of politics. Any little thing gets plugged into the narrative and built up to support it.

Cail Corishev said...

I am not American, so forgive me if I don't know a lot about SAT, but I assume these are a national school test standard. Surely these can be looked up as public records, especially the perfect scores.

No, they're administered by a private company. Test scores are not public unless people choose to publicize their own.

You can buy used test prep books for $10 on Amazon, and this helps to level the playing field.

You're aware that Amazon didn't exist when Schumer took the test, right? There might have been test-prep booklets -- Steve's other post talks about how Schumer worked for one of the earliest test-prep companies and helped prepare them -- but such things weren't nearly as ubiquitous as they are now.

Even in the 1980s, the "this will get you into the best school" industry was just getting started, a tiny thing compared to what it is now.

anony-mouse said...

So can you or can't you improve your score by taking a prep course?

If not then Kaplan is a scam.

If you can then Kaplan is no more dishonorable than the boy in the Emporor's New Clothes.

Steve Sailer said...

It's extremely hard to get yourself out of the Narrative. I have a sizable number of regular readers, but very few things I post go viral. (That last one I can recall that really took off was the Tavon White story about six weeks ago.) In general, it's just too conceptually hard for most people to follow the links of stuff that's not supposed to be linked.

I've been doing this for years, so I'm only mildly surprised at the amazing "lattice of coincidence" stuff I dig up, but for a standard follower of one of the respectable conventional wisdoms, it makes them nervous and angry. They feel like somebody knows something they don't know and that makes them mad. Poor Tyler Cowen's commenters, for example, are constantly peeved by how things he brings up turn out to be connected to other things they really don't want to think about.

Titus Didius Tacitus said...

Resourcefulness is also part of Chuck Schumer's divinely created heroic nature. Since Jacob outwitted Laban, such resourcefulness has been a Jewish characteristic.

Steve Sailer said...

Kaplan and Schumer in the mid-1960s were attacking a testing system that assumed that people wouldn't be so unsporting as to try to methodically exploit its weaknesses. Schumer's stated view (see the video I linked to) is that he's not all that innately brilliant, he just had a huge advantage in being one of the first in the country to fully exploit Kaplan's system. This was before ETS erected a lot of defenses around their tests.

The question of whether Schumer would have scored "four 800s" without these advantages is less important than the realization that Schumer has just under a half century of experience of the advantages of methodically exploiting complex but naive systems. This should come as a warning to Republicans who think they can reply on the four Republicans on the Gang of Eight to defend GOP interests from Senator Schumer.

Anonymous said...

It does sound like Schumer may have taken the SAT dozens of times, which makes getting a "perfect score" a lot less impressive.

Anonymous said...

If New York City Jews disproportionately benefited from test prep, one would expect them to underperform in college.


One would have to be very naive to expect that.

Harry Baldwin said...

Senator CHUCK SCHUMER (D, NY): Stanley believed that these tests could overcome all the other barriers that, you know, America was ultimately the Ameritocracy. And even if your last name was different and you went to a large, you know, 5,000-person Brooklyn public school, if you could do well on these tests, you could get somewhere.

When Schumer refers to Brooklyn and "your last name was different" he's using code for Jewish. In other words, a Brooklyn Jew had to game the system to overcome all the barriers against them.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter whose better on tests Rubio appears to not also have street smarts which is sometimes better than academic smarts. Reagan was a great street smarts president whose best subject was English since he could write his speeches.

peterike said...

If you're smart, you don't have to memorize all the answers to the SATs. You only have to memorize the difficult ones. The nature of the test is that the smaller number of very hard questions is what separates the herd. And I would think the more difficult questions -- being more difficult to create -- probably changed less frequently than the easy questions.

On test prep, I used to teach a bit of it (verbal only) and I always thought the Princeton Review guys did the best job of cracking the code, much better than the Kaplan stuff. They gave you methods that actually helped. The trouble is that you can't teach a stupid student how to be smart about taking a test.

"He was regarded as a rebel trying to bring down the whole system," Mr. Schumer said

Is there nothing in society that Jews don't want to tear down? The romanticizing of the rebel is the worst social disease of the past 100 years.

Anonymous said...

In 1963 my younger brother Pete scored in the mid-seven-nineties on both math and verbal on his SATs, at that time the highest score ever achieved in Morris County, NJ, a very high income and high IQ area. That was before the SATs had been progressively dumbed down and before practice SATs became routine. In those days the first look a student got at the SAT was the one and only time he sat down to take it.

Schumer got 800s? Don't make me laugh.

Anonymous said...

Yes, all well and fine, but is there or is there not a scandal worth pursuing? Did Chucky get stratospheric SAT scores? The supporting evidence isn't that foolproof. Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard means either you are a genius because you were majoring in physics and classics like Ron Unz or you chose your major carefully to align with all the trivia you learned in four years of High School. And once you have the 4.0 GPA, Harvard Law School admission from Harvard becomes highly doable. HLS admits students with over two standard deviations of verbal ability and being a Jew in the 60s was like being a mulatto in the 90's. So more likely than not Schumer thread the needle without the need for super genius test scores. I suspect Chucky is more like Mark Zuckerberg than Priscilla Chang.

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/06/04/another-israeli-medical-miracle/

"tiny, embattled Middle Eastern state"

embattled? seems to me stronger and more secure than rest of ME combined.

Tiny? So was Great Britain but it pushed everyone around for centuries.

typical conservative slavish worship of Jews.

DCThrowback said...

Steve's last comment nailed it, as did Tacitus':

Schumer was resourceful enough to take advantage of being a first mover to take his natural gift and, say, enhance them into guaranteeing himself a seat at Harvard then risking (only) being able to get into, say, Columbia.

There's a certain gray area in there that Steve addresses - it's not illegal, but it is certainly unsporting. And, to be honest, could you see Hollywood making a movie about the rise of Kaplan and his protege Schumer, the plucky little upstarts overthrowing the stuffy establishment, amirite?

Anonymous said...

You can study for those tests. Try telling that to your kid though. Thats one of the hard knocks they have to learn on their own, I guess.

There is a small cohort of kids who WILL study for those tests and they are likely not brighter than a lot of other kids who get significantly lower scores. Their willingness to study for tests may not be an asset to them in life, either.

Anonymous said...

http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2013/05/30/lonely-thinking-hannah-arendt-on-film/

Anonymous said...

"I suspect Chucky is more like Mark Zuckerberg than Priscilla Chang."

By which I mean the super successful are more likely to be quick witted weasels than self effacing geniuses. Another excellent comparison is between the Google clods (Brin and Page) versus Stephen Wolfram, a certifiable off the charts, once in a century genius. Last I checked, Wolfram wasn't a billionaire.

David said...

>Kaplan is no more dishonorable than the boy in the Emperor's New Clothes.<

Neither is Bernie Madoff, then.

Anonymous said...

"There is a small cohort of kids who WILL study for those tests and they are likely not brighter than a lot of other kids who get significantly lower scores. Their willingness to study for tests may not be an asset to them in life, either. "

Yeah, but if you can successfully game a test without studying as hard as an Asian, this demonstrates your ability to beat the system which is how most people become billionaires and lifetime Senators.

Anonymous said...

I scored 1500 on the SAT back in the 70s, with no prep. I'm a reasonably smart guy, but certainly not top 10 in the country. If I had spent that much time staring at stolen test questions (with answers?) I can easily imagine scoring 1600.

I do remember that the common wisdom at the time was that you couldn't improve your scores by studying for the test.

Anonymous said...

http://nicholasstixuncensored.blogspot.com/2013/06/new-york-city-25-people-shot-6-dead-in.html

Anonymous said...

http://mondoweiss.net/2013/06/lauding-liberal-zionists.html

For both lib Jews and con Jews, Jewish identity and power come first.

Anonymous said...

"When you look at the in the members of the superhighest IQ societies what you see is a lot of eccentric non-performers."

This is correct. Presumably, though, successful super-smart people are less likely to sign up for these societies than unsuccessful ones. They already have all the validation they need.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a one-time colleague of Schumer's in the NY senatorial delegation, was eccentric in the most stereotypical super-smart-guy way imaginable. Barney Frank is eccentric, but I don't know how much of that is gayness and how much brilliance. Compared to those guys, and to the typical high IQ society member, Schumer is boring.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Hundson said
DVN: Sir, are you comparing what the Jews are doing to America to what the British did to India? A tiny foreign population subverting a large nation and subjecting it to their whims and preferences?"

DVN says: If you look at it through those lens, then why not. What I was getting at was that those who would be condemned by Leviticus before would be kosher today.

But yes, British more than force of arms resorted to manipulation,cajolery and deciet in their conquest of India. Fiendishly admirable in its own way!

I just find it hypocritical that many white people justify one type of domination but are aghast and scandalized when they feel they are not in control of destiny

Karma is a bitch, it wouldn't be if they had empathy

pat said...

There are a lot of liberals who think IQ tests still contain words like 'regatta'. But of course culturally loaded terms and subjects were excised from ability tests years ago.

Ability tests have been evolving all along. Many of the better researchers now use only the Raven's Progressive Matrices. That means that IQ has become simply the ability to solve puzzles.

That's not such a bad definition for intelligence. All life is a series of puzzles or problems. So if you are particularly good at solving them - you will be OK. It's 'g'.

Any one Raven's Matrix is fairly easy except for the very last ones. It should be easy I would think to write a program that produces matrix type puzzles automatically. The problem would be that these original puzzles would not calibrated on a population. It would be hard to judge a priori which ones were hardest so as to make the whole set progressive. But if you dropped the progressive nature of the test you could have a test creation system that Chuck Schumer couldn't game.

It could be like taking a Microsoft or Cisco qualification exam. You go to a test center and sign in at the desk. The proctor takes you into the test room where you sit before a computer. You are presented with a set of matrix puzzles generated randomly. You are scored on how many you get right in an a hour.

The puzzles would be all of the same sort and of differing degrees of difficulty. You could take the test as many times as you wished. Presumably the first couple times you took it you would not do too well, but with practice you would attain a stable score which you could not better with any amount of practice. Your public posted IQ would be the average of the three best scores you ever got.

I presume that an algorithm that produces random matrix puzzles will occasionally produce one that is impossibly difficult - and it might be the first one you confronted. But it would also produce some 'gimmes'. I presume that there is an algorithm that can automatically produce equally difficult batteries of puzzles so that no corruptible human being need be in the loop to make adjustments.

I just thought this idea up so it probably has some practical hole in it that I haven't yet seen. But it seems to me that it should work.

Of course the Jensen reaction lights are even more simple but people fail to associate reaction times with the common sense notion of general intelligence. Puzzle taking skill has prima facie validity.

Anonymous said...

When Schumer refers to Brooklyn and "your last name was different" he's using code for Jewish. In other words, a Brooklyn Jew had to game the system to overcome all the barriers against them.

Riiiight--"all the barriers."

That must be how Louis Brandeis was admitted to Harvard Law School in 1875 and appointed to the US Supreme Court in 1916. Or how Benjamin Cardozo, son of a Supreme Court of New York judge and nephew of a vice president of the New York Stock Exchange, got admitted to Columbia College and Columbia Law School in the 1880s and was later admitted to the US Supreme Court in 1932.

Anonymous said...

In general, it's just too conceptually hard for most people to follow the links of stuff that's not supposed to be linked.

Can you further explain?

rob said...

The ETS didn't change questions all that often back then. Before Kaplan, gaming the SAT was considered unsporting. As Schumer has explained, he read the SAT questions over and over running Kaplan's mimeo machine. So, he had a huge advantage over other high school students in that more trusting, less cynical, more honor-bound America that Stanley H. Kaplan helped undermine.

Elite prep schools and colleges thought that character and ethics were important. The WASP establishment did a pretty good job of filtering out the conniving and cheating sorts, which ensured that the professional-managerial class consisted of decent people who would compete within both written and unwritten rules.

Clever cheaters could sneak through, but the 'anti' Jewish quotas kept the system from being overwhelmed by people gaming it.

We've moved past those dark days of honest institutions, professional ethics, and anti-usury laws. How's that working out?

ScarletNumber said...

Your post reeks of anti-Semitism.

Kaplan gamed the system. The WASPs gamed the system by rigging admissions in other ways. It's all a game. BFD.

Anonymous said...

"Sporting" means "sucker" now? Cool.

Van Nuys said...

Schumer, Schuyler, wasp's the difference?

disraeli said...

Tiny?

GB sq. mi.: 667,000
Israel sq. mi: 8,000

Good thing they eliminated the analogy section on the SAT for you sir.

Anonymous said...

The three amigos? The Three Stooges would be a more apt name for this trio of idiots.

Svigor said...

So can you or can't you improve your score by taking a prep course?

If not then Kaplan is a scam.

If you can then Kaplan is no more dishonorable than the boy in the Emporor's New Clothes.
|

Yes. I took a pretty simple prep course and bought a handful of prep books after my first go 'round. My score went up 90 points (or maybe it was 110?) the next time 'round.

I think of this sort of thing as remedial. I was about as indifferent a student as possible, so I was what I think of as the ideal candidate.

Is there nothing in society that Jews don't want to tear down? The romanticizing of the rebel is the worst social disease of the past 100 years.

Sure. Just fly them over the Atlantic. By the time they get to Israel, they've reversed polarity and started building up and defending society, and reviling the rebels. This inversion field must exist in the ether, too, since all they have to do is cast their thoughts in a Levantine direction and suddenly they're patriots for the duration.

Conatus said...

Schumer lived Teus thru Thurs in a frat boy type house with three other legislators on the south side of Capitol Hill. They all fly home on the weekends to politick. But every couple of years they would have an article in the Hill or Politico about 'the boys' living in near squalor and stealing each others cornflakes. One time on a sticky, humid summer morning at about 6:15 am, he passed me on the sidewalk heading north to the Senate, making decidedly unstatesmanlike noises into his cellphone. He was not saying, "Yeah I really got a couple of 700s...hah hah...those stupidheads" he was just being surprisingly friendly and unpowerbroker like on the phone.

Anonymous said...

"I scored 1500 on the SAT back in the 70s, with no prep. I'm a reasonably smart guy, but certainly not top 10 in the country. If I had spent that much time staring at stolen test questions (with answers?) I can easily imagine scoring 1600.

I do remember that the common wisdom at the time was that you couldn't improve your scores by studying for the test." - Enough with the sour grapes, if foreign ethnic tribes want to come here and game our open system built on trust, who are we to complain? Clearly they've just exposed a fatal flaw in trust that needs to be rectified(and ultimately will to all of our detriment if nothing is done).

Melendwyr said...

"Is there nothing in society that Jews don't want to tear down? The romanticizing of the rebel is the worst social disease of the past 100 years."

Always with your obsession with the Jews... (shakes head)

As a collective, you people have some very odd ideas. You assert that our society is corrupt and degraded... and that the people who want to tear it down, or even merely find ways to survive and thrive despite its dysfunction, are evil.

And somehow I'm always left with the impression that you disapprove of the corruption not on some abstract ethical level, but because you're not personally benefitting from it.

Anonymous said...

Being best at cheating is a kind of meritocracy.

Anonymous said...

"No, they're administered by a private company. Test scores are not public unless people choose to publicize their own.'

I wonder if they have records that far back.

They should keep all their scores and if someone claims to have gotten a high score the company can verify it like a college transcript.

You don't have to authorize them to release it but then we won't believe you.

Steve Sailer said...

Reading up on this, I was struck by how much the media consider Stanley H. Kaplan an indisputable hero, no two sides about it. There's a real story there.

Charlesz Martel said...

A Gestetner produces copies that do not have to be dried, unless one has severely over- inked the stencil. I think someone's confusing an alcohol based ditto machine with a cut stencil Gestetner.

My sister got a 1500 back in 71, and got into Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Vassar and Yale, IIRC. She only took it once- I'm not sure there was a PSAT then. She used the Princeton Review book, and was a voracious reader due to a classical European education. The general gist at the time was that the test couldn't be studied for, which my sister felt was bullshit.

I came real close to getting a full copy of the SAT in 74. Wonder what Kaplan would have paid for that- LOL!!

I have met a lot of perfect scorers post 95- they're simply not in the same league as the old- timers.

My sister told me there was a boy in her Swiss school that scored a 1600- she said he was brilliant at math, so the 800 was expected, but everyone was very surprised at the 800 verbal.


Just my .02.

Anonymous said...

Dan Quayle spells potato wrong on a chalkboard, and that grows into his being an idiot who must be laughed out of politics.

That is because children in New Jersey were being taught that potatoe was the correct spelling as that was how it was spelt on the answer sheet that was provided.

Bottledwater said...

A member of the Prometheus society who knows the SAT scores of many, many people, says the SAT (old or new version) is a good measure of g up to about 1400.

Beyond 1400 he could never see any pattern. He could see big differences in g between 1400 and 1300 people, but no difference between 1600 and 1400 people.

1600 people were all almost always excellent students, but they could not solve truly novel abstract problems any better than 1400 types.

Dave Pinsen said...

"It could be like taking a Microsoft or Cisco qualification exam. You go to a test center and sign in at the desk. The proctor takes you into the test room where you sit before a computer. You are presented with a set of matrix puzzles generated randomly. You are scored on how many you get right in an a hour."

Realistically, you could replace any admissions test that doesn't have relevant subject matter questions on it (e.g., the MCAT) with a proctored 20 minute Wonderlic test. Because there are so few questions on it, the number of possible questions relative to the actual questions on the test would be huge, and studying all of them would be almost impossible.

But the status quo is a nice business for ETS and the test prep companies

Hunsdon said...

ScarletNumber said: Your post reeks of anti-Semitism. The WASPs gamed the system by rigging admissions in other ways.

Hunsdon said: You reek of hating the Gentile. The WASPS built the system.

Melendwyr said: As a collective, you people have some very odd ideas. And somehow I'm always left with the impression that you disapprove of the corruption not on some abstract ethical level, but because you're not personally benefitting from it.

Hunsdon said: Well, you're wrong. Howzat? I walked away from a big money job for abstract ethical reasons: I'm not a liar, a thief, a cheat or a whore.

DVN said: But yes, British more than force of arms resorted to manipulation,cajolery and deciet in their conquest of India. Fiendishly admirable in its own way!

Hunsdon said: On the whole, a better way to take over a society than outright force of arms. I would, of course, argue that the Jewish influence is less beneficial to America than the British were to India . . . but as a (relative) kshatryia, I would, wouldn't I?

disraeli said: Good thing they eliminated the analogy section on the SAT for you sir.

Hunsdon said: The tiny island, with no foreign help, dominated most of the world for several centuries. The tiny Jewish state, with massive US assistance, barely dominates the Middle East.

rob said: We've moved past those dark days of honest institutions, professional ethics, and anti-usury laws. How's that working out?

Hunsdon said: To ask the question, sir, is to answer it. But you knew that.

Bottledwater said...

The bell curve had a whole section about how you couldn't study for the SAT. You could maybe increase your score by a fraction of an SD after dozens of hours of study, but diminishing returns quickly set in. But then maybe those stats don't apply to really bright students or as Steve suggests, did not apply in the days before the test became coaching proof.

I doubt schumer scored a perfect 1600. According to an IQ conversion chart cited by the Prometheus MC Report 1600 equates to an IQ of 171 (one in a million level).

A lot of these celebrity test scores get exaggerated, if not outright fabricated. I used to hear bill gates had SATs in the low 1500s, but they've mysteriously risen to the very high 1500s.

One media source claimed bill Cosby scored about 400, and yet he also scored high enough on IQ test to enter a gifted high school. As an aspiring comic, perhaps he chose the funniest answers on the SAT, not the best ones.

Schumer's 1600 is improbable on its face, so the fact that Steve actually found a quote from someone saying he scored not quite perfect tells me 1600 was just an exaggeration that stuck.

But the fact that people are took the test repeatedly just makes a mockery of the whole process, since the law of averages predicts you'll eventually hit the jackpot.

I really hope the SAT is coachable. I don't want to believe the SAT is a valid IQ test because it's too important.

IQ should cause success because smart people do smart things, not because smart people score high on IQ tests, and thus get lucrative credentials. Fortunately studies show ivy league degrees are worthless once you control for the SAT scores of the students (since smart people do well regardless of what college they go to)

Anonymous said...

Why won't the "reply" in the last line die? Should be "rely."

And I'm very late to the game.

Education Realist said...

Jesus. Some sort of alternate reality field here.

1) Stanley Kaplan did not cheat, nor did he figure out how to cheat, nor was he some sort of nasty shit who brought dishonor to the SAT.

2) What the Koreans do is not in any way, shape or form what Kaplan did.

3) I have no idea what Schumer's SAT scores were, but reading SAT questions will not allow you to get a better score on the SAT.

4)"more trusting, less cynical, more honor-bound America that Stanley H. Kaplan helped undermine".

So which is it? Either Kaplan is a scam, in which case Kaplan didn't undermine anything, or Kaplan raises test scores. Can't have it both ways.

I don't think Kaplan's a hero. Just a businessman. But it's pure jackassery to suggest he put one over on the otherwise wonderful good people of the elite, who were honest and trustworthy until scumbags like him came along.

Despite the hype, no one gets double 800s on the SAT because they prepped. Any idiot should know this. Test prep helps most people get to the top of their range, no more, no less.

And yeah, it does strike me as deeply anti-Semitic to imply that the fabulous wasps, the ones who were keeping Jews to a quota, were honorable and wonderful, whereas Kaplan, the guy who helped low and mid income kids of all ability levels get familiar with a test that wasn't part of their family lore, is a scumsucking maggot who ruined things for the Good People.

RKU said...

I think the Kaplan quote about Schumer settles the matter. Scoring 1600 on the SAT back then was a huge deal, something like 3 out of a million, and especially a huge deal to someone like Kaplan. If he says his old friend Schumer had "close to a perfect 1600" there's roughly a zero percent chance that Schumer did get a perfect 1600.

Schumer's nickname of "Four 800s" very likely referred to both SAT and Achievements, which these days are called SAT II. Getting 800s on the latter used to be far, far easier than on the SAT, at least in certain subjects. It wouldn't surprise me if the "Four 800s" was what confused some reporter or aide into thinking that Schumer had scored a double 800.

Consider that fascinating People Magazine article, which tracked down 5 of the 9 1600-scorers for 1987. None of those 5 enrolled in the Ivies. It wouldn't surprise me if all the Ivies combined had only one or two 1600s each year (don't forget the competition from MIT and Caltech). Was Schumer the highest scoring student at Harvard his year? Probably not.

One more datapoint. I've known many very, very smart people. Almost nobody ever bragged about his SATs, but I'm pretty sure that if someone had scored a (pre-1990s) 1600, word would have generally gotten around. And I can only think of a single example of that.

I don't have strong feelings about Schumer, but maybe some reporter should really try to pin him down on that.

Or better yet, someone should try the same thing with Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, who ridiculously claims to have gotten a perfect 1600 at age 13(!). The scandal might get him booted, and probably the Viacom #2 or maybe hedge fund short-sellers would pay good money for something like that to happen.

James Kabala said...

"Also, didn't Kaplan start out as kind of a scam where he had high school students who worked for him write down immediately after the test all the questions they could remember, and thus Kaplan overwhelmed the Educational Testing Service, which was unprepared at the time to vary questions often enough for Kaplan-groomed test-takers?"

It's pretty weird that ask you ask this as a question with the tone of "Hey, guys, am I remembering this right?" but then go on to treat Kaplan as tried and convicted. Gladwell never says that ETS reused questions - of course I trust you over Gladwell any day of the week, but if you're going to make such a serious claim about Kaplan, you need harder evidence.

a Newsreader said...

The details of the 1000 page bill are almost irrelevant. The bill will be implemented by so many regulatory agencies with overlapping authority, and the result will be whatever immigration bill the reigning orthodoxy of the bureaucracy wants.

All they need is the imprimatur of a bill having been passed to begin action.

I'm sure Schumer realizes this.

Steve Sailer said...

Gladwell's 2001 article was, I presume, promoting Kaplan's 2001 autobiography.

How else could it work? It's silly to ask teenagers: what were the underlying patterns in the questions on today's SAT test, you ask them "What were the questions on today's SAT test?" Now, maybe, you change one thing as you are typing up the question if you are worried about ETS College Board coming after you for copyright.

James Kabala said...

OK, here is an article from 2007 about questions and even entire exams being reused. Hilariously, it is from the Washington Post and (therefore?) mentions the Princeton Review but not Kaplan.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/30/AR2007013001173_pf.html

The question is, how widely was this practice known in the 1960s? There seems to be a bit of a contradiction between the idea that the test was shrouded in complete mystery and the idea that Kaplan knew they must be reusing questions.

NOTA said...

The obvious guess here is that Schumer was and is a very smart guy, but that he might have gotten a boost in his SAT scores (his SAT scores were probably higher than you would expect, given his intelligence) from working for the original test prep company, and being exposed to lots of sample test questions, all the internal brainstorming for strategies to beat the test, etc. All that wouldn't help an idiot get a super high SAT score, but it would probably help a smart, studious guy get a somewhat higher SAT score.

There are a lot of problems with having your place in the world determined by a test you take when you're 16. And yet, for all the bad things about that, at least you're looking at some kind of objective number. The alternative seems to be squishy subjective stuff that probably amounts to admissions people applying or imposing their prejudices and social goals. To the extent we move away from SATs and toward a "holistic" approach to admissions, we probably move toward having more of the admissions decisions turn on what kind of resume-padding activities your parents can help you produce for your application. Or some social-engineering formula that decides that we need X% left-handed red-haired lesbians and Y% one-eyed yak-herders to round out the diverse student body.

Spike Gomes said...

I actually know someone who got a 1600, back in the 1970s. He's one of my bosses. It's not something he advertises, I only found out after working for three years, some of it directly under him. One of the other bosses was ribbing him about his troubles with Microsoft Word and brought it up to needle him. He's a brilliant guy with several graduate degrees in some very disparate fields and multilingual to boot, but a more stubborn, socially abrasive, pig-headed luddite I've never met. He generally speaks to nearly everyone else as if they're mildly retarded, yet can't be arsed to figure out even the most basic technical or mechanical problems without calling in IT or maintenance. He is highly conversant on a wide variety of esoteric topics and respected in his field, but one gets the feeling he'd have been much better off staying in academia rather than going into private industry with his personality quirks and technophobia.

ben tillman said...

Your post reeks of anti-Semitism.

Kaplan gamed the system. The WASPs gamed the system by rigging admissions in other ways. It's all a game. BFD.


Your deranged accusation of "anti-semitism" implies that Jews have a right to things created by others. The exercise of property rights is never wrong.

Anonymous said...

"OK, here is an article from 2007 about questions and even entire exams being reused....The question is, how widely was this practice known in the 1960s?"

This would be a perfect example of the sort of thing a high-trust society does.

(And also of how easily that kind of society can be hacked by people with a low-trust mentality.)

Dr Van Nostrand said...


Your deranged accusation of "anti-semitism" implies that Jews have a right to things created by others. The exercise of property rights is never wrong."

Really? So Ivy League institutions were created explicitly for WASPs and no one else?If that was true why not ban Jews altogether like they did with country clubs well into the 80s. Why offer them quotas?

Your analogy of property rights is peculiar.

I dont see how it applies to educational institutions. Knowledge can be intellectual property but purveying it for a fee is hardly dishonorable. And Im pretty sure Jews paid top dollar to attend those institutions just like the WASPs

and FYI when I was at university as an international student, I had to pay nearly 3 times the amount as an instate student.I think out of state students had to pay a mere 2x.
But they would be considered instate after a year.

I dont know to what extent international students were subsidizing the low tuition rates of local students but I wouldnt be surprised if it was considerable.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

I wonder where these WASP notions of honor were when they busy selling opium?

Dr Van Nostrand said...


Hunsdon said...
ScarletNumber said: Your post reeks of anti-Semitism. The WASPs gamed the system by rigging admissions in other ways.

Hunsdon said: You reek of hating the Gentile. The WASPS built the system.

DVN: I dont see how it follows that she hates Gentiles. When she accuses WASPs of rigging the system, it is expression of disappointment that they werent egalitarians after all.
If WASPs built this insular system which created which created an alumni of Senators,diplomat,congresman,business tycoons,cabinet members and Presidents , they are clearly muscling others out of the power structure and creating a pseudo aristocracy.
This is not just disadvantageous to Jews but also ethnic and other protestant whites as well who formed the bulk of the white population.



Melendwyr said: As a collective, you people have some very odd ideas. And somehow I'm always left with the impression that you disapprove of the corruption not on some abstract ethical level, but because you're not personally benefitting from it.

Hunsdon said: Well, you're wrong. Howzat? I walked away from a big money job for abstract ethical reasons: I'm not a liar, a thief, a cheat or a whore.

DVN: Good for you

DVN said: But yes, British more than force of arms resorted to manipulation,cajolery and deciet in their conquest of India. Fiendishly admirable in its own way!

Hunsdon said: On the whole, a better way to take over a society than outright force of arms. I would, of course, argue that the Jewish influence is less beneficial to America than the British were to India . . . but as a (relative) kshatryia, I would, wouldn't I?

DVN: I am not quite sure how you would quantify the influence accurately them enough to compare both as they are apples and oranges.
Secular Jews who you have a beef with are monkey see monkey do or WASP see WASP do. When WASPs are patriotic ,they are super patriots. When WASPs are Soviet sympathisizers you have the Rosenbergs.
When WASPs rebelling against daddy start the free love movement, they simply take it to its logical conclusion.

Anyway I agree it is far more honorable to conquer a country announced by force of arms then by proxy and deciet. This is why in India the Muslim invaders despite their depredations are more respected than the British despite their relative humanitarianism.




disraeli said: Good thing they eliminated the analogy section on the SAT for you sir.

Hunsdon said: The tiny island, with no foreign help, dominated most of the world for several centuries. The tiny Jewish state, with massive US assistance, barely dominates the Middle East.

DVN: The difference being the tiny Jewish state isnt interested in dominating the Middle East except a small part and when it was most successful in doing so (in 1948 and 1967) they recieved scant support from U.S

rob said: We've moved past those dark days of honest institutions, professional ethics, and anti-usury laws. How's that working out?

Hunsdon said: To ask the question, sir, is to answer it. But you knew that.

DVN: I would agree but disagree with the cause.You no doubt blame Jews. I see it due to the litigization of society due to its fragmentation. Procedure has replaced notions of duty,honor and right and wrong.
And yes a good number of these shysters were Jews but they were not the ring leaders

TomV said...

Education Realist:

"So which is it? Either Kaplan is a scam, in which case Kaplan didn't undermine anything, or Kaplan raises test scores."

The latter. Especially when the tests were less sophisticated. What is this contradiction that you're implying?

Looks like this post has touched many a raw nerve. The claws, they come out.

For what it's worth, here's an Asian who recoils at the idea of cram schools and test training. Studying is all well and good, but studying for a standardized test is at best silly and at worst close to cheating (it takes the "standardized" out of a standardized test, for not everybody have access to the study materials -- some may not even think they're supposed to study). Making a business out of it is downright sleazy.

My scores would qualify me to be a tutor at a test prep company, and I hear it's a fairly lucrative gig. But it never crosses my mind to pursue it. If you don't deliver, then you're cheating your clients. If you do, then you undermine the system, and make it even that much harder for the diamonds in the rough. So which is it, Mr. Testy Tutor?

I've seen enough of the world to understand that our senses of justice and right and wrong often have a lot to do with who we are, and we are all different. So I'm not going to try to impose my morality on the likes of "Education Realist" and "Dr. Van Nostrand." Suffice to say that I much prefer the old Anglo-American elite, its outlook, and the society that it built to anything you guys have to offer.

Hunsdon said...

DVN: I dont see how it follows that she hates Gentiles. When she accuses WASPs of rigging the system, it is expression of disappointment that they werent egalitarians after all.

Hunsdon said: Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander, sir. She opened with, as it were, a tactical nuke.

I had mentioned earlier that America is not a propositional nation, but a prepositional nation: to ourselves and our posterity.

To the accusation that WASPs (the actual definition, not the Thurston Howell III implication) preferred a nation of, well, WASPs, I can only put on my shocked face. There's gambling at Rick's?

DVN: The difference being the tiny Jewish state isnt interested in dominating the Middle East except a small part and when it was most successful in doing so (in 1948 and 1967) they recieved scant support from U.S

Hunsdon: Have you read A Clean Break, A New Strategy For Securing the Realm? Sure sounds like regional hegemony to me. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, I hasten to add, and in all sincerity.)

I have a great deal more respect for the Jews of Israel than for the Jews of America. I suspect that a great deal of the ruinous agitation by the neocons is out of a desire to help Israel mixed with guilt over sitting fat and happy in New York and DC, and not having made aliyah.

DVN: Secular Jews who you have a beef with are monkey see monkey do or WASP see WASP do. When WASPs are patriotic ,they are super patriots. When WASPs are Soviet sympathisizers you have the Rosenbergs. When WASPs rebelling against daddy start the free love movement, they simply take it to its logical conclusion.

Hunsdon: Admittedly, I have a hard time coming up with examples of Jews being super-patriots vis a vis America, but it's an interesting argument.

A people without much sense of moderation, then?

DVN: I would agree but disagree with the cause.You no doubt blame Jews. I see it due to the litigization of society due to its fragmentation. Procedure has replaced notions of duty,honor and right and wrong.
And yes a good number of these shysters were Jews but they were not the ring leaders.

Hunsdon: No doubt, no doubt----to a degree. I don't think that Jews are behind every problem America faces, nor that Jews are some monolithic menace. (For that matter, "monolithic communism" or "monolithic Islamism" similarly fail to convince me.)

I do take it as an article of faith that the more diverse a society is, the lower the levels of trust exist in that society. The record of multiethnic states is pretty dismal. And if I see the '65 Immigration and Nationality Act as playing a huge huge HUGE (hat tip to Whiskey) role in that, look, hey, Celler!

You wonderfully articulated my sense of loss when you wrote: Procedure has replaced notions of duty,honor and right and wrong.

It might be laughably naive, but I still believe in duty, honor, and right and wrong.

James Kabala said...

The basic question is this: What was the implied message when Kaplan handed out old tests to his students? Was it

1. (Kaplan/Gladwell version) "OK, kids, here are some old SATs that will help you know what kinds and styles of questions you should expect to encounter. Who knows? - maybe a few of these will actually appear on the exams you yourself take, bur of course we can't count on that - this is to teach you HOW to take the test."

or was it

2. (Sailer version) "OK, kids, here are some old SATs for you to memorize and hope you get those same questions when you take the exam yourself."

There is a pretty big moral difference between these two approaches. It's easy to be cynical and assume that of course he was really adopting approach 2, EXCEPT that, since ETS caved in and started to release old questions openly, Kaplan and the Princeton Review have clearly adopted approach 1. I don't know what actually goes on in test prep courses, never having taken one, but the Princeton Review books of the nineties clearly adopted the approach of "Here are a bunch of old tests that will never be used again (and if they are, ETS has messed up big time, since they promised these questions were retired), but they will teach you how to take the test and what kind of things to look for."

Is this Plan B, adopted only after the open release of old tests made surreptitious memorizing seem more obviously unsporting? Maybe, but again, these needs to be proved, not asserted.

Similarly, lots of time in AP courses is taken up with taking old practice tests that will never be used again. The idea that you should sit down to, say, an AP history exam with no idea what a document-based question is would be considered absurd. Now I wonder: Was it always like this, or is this also post-Kaplan?

Art Deco said...

Hunsdon said: The tiny island, with no foreign help, dominated most of the world for several centuries. The tiny Jewish state, with massive US assistance, barely dominates the Middle East.

1. Britain was the pre-eminent European power from about 1763 to about 1939. It did not 'dominate most of the world'. It was always one among several. Neither was it contextually 'tiny'. The ratio of Britain's population to world population in 1850 was similar to that of Japan today. Britain was the world's most affluent country and at that time exceeded in population all the world's advanced economies bar the United States (which had a larger population by about 10%) and France.

2. As noted in previous conversations, aid to Israel was quite large during the period running from 1973 to 1985 and was rapidly whittled down thereafter. It is not currently important, amounting to about 1.2% of gross domestic product.

3. Israel has never taken an interest in 'dominating the Middle East'. It just works on internal security and holding its own.

4. Israel as a commonwealth is a considerable achievement. It is one of a very modest list of countries outside the occidental core which have achieved comparable levels of affluence and technical sophistication in the years since World War I. Others would be Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Slovenia, and Cyprus. Ireland and Israel are the only two on this list not facing an incipient social crisis from decades of subreplacement fertility.

Steve Sailer said...

The idea on test prep that I put forward a few years ago is that college admissions should weight more heavily Advanced Placement Test scores because when you are prepping for, say, the Chemistry AP you are really learning chemistry, which is a good thing to learn.

James Kabala said...

One final comment: As far as I know (and you seem to agree in your speculation about Schumer), the College Board has always allowed re-taking the test. So, having some idea of what the basic format of the test would be like was not considered a disqualifier or a dishonest act, since obviously retakers would know what the format was like from their first time.

Hunsdon said...

Art Deco said: Israel has never taken an interest in 'dominating the Middle East'. It just works on internal security and holding its own.

Hunsdon said: La la la, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm never happened, la la la, la la la. PNAC never happened, la la la.

The US wars against Iraq were designed solely to advance vital US strategic interests, la la la.

"Everyone wants to go to Baghdad, real men want to go to Teheran" was just an expression of typical US imperialism with no and I say again no connection to some other Middle Eastern state, la la la.

Art Deco said...

Hundson, in case you had not noticed:

1. Israel currently has

a. the territory it managed to hold onto in 1949;

b. fragments of metropolitan Jerusalem acquired in 1967 consequent to Gen. Nasser's splendid little war;

c. a fragment of territory acquired in that same war formerly held by the Syrian Arab Republic and held due to its military utility. This territory has a population of about 65,000, mostly Druze. Syria has never been willing to negotiate any deal for its return.

d. blotches of lightly populated territory held by Jordan between 1949 and 1967, also acquired in the splendid little war. Israel did attempt to negotiate a cession of these to an Arab authority. Results disastrous.

They're being fairly slow about it if they wish to 'dominate the Middle East.

===

2. The Project for a New American Century is a defunct advocacy group that once employed all of four (4) people. Its founder is well-connected enough that Richard Cheney will return his telephone calls. That does not mean he can manipulate the entire political class.

==

3. Israel's priority was the problem posed by Iran, not Iraq.

3.

Hunsdon said...

Art Deco: Share your thoughts on A Clean Break, would you? Of course Israel wants to be the local hegemon, of course Israel wants to weaken the neighboring Arab (and, umm, Persian) states. You're just being silly.

PNAC doesn't have much pull now, but back in the day, oh my. Or did Feith never run the OSP?

Average Joe said...

So, he had a huge advantage over other high school students in that more trusting, less cynical, more honor-bound America that Stanley H. Kaplan helped undermine.

Yes, the Scotch-Irish are good at undermining societies.

Education Realist said...

My scores would qualify me to be a tutor at a test prep company, and I hear it's a fairly lucrative gig.

hahahahaha. You don't hear well, that's for sure. Besides, almost everyone posting here has qualifying scores, so it's not a big deal. The rest of your post is evidence that reading comprehension and analytical competence aren't related.

I don't want to believe the SAT is a valid IQ test because it's too important.

IQ tests don't give the same result every single time, do they?

As for the tests being reused--you all do understand, don't you, that the College Board gives testers a copy of the tests, along with their results? And I'm pretty sure (although not positive) that the CBS can't prevent a student from selling it--although, if it can, it's the student, not the test prep company, that's violated the contract.

Kaplan spent millions developing test questions, and the company never gave out copies of SAT tests. It did give out copies of ACT tests, tests that they bought from the ACT--which sold them.

The 2007 incident could only have happened in one of two ways that I can think of:

1) CB screwed up, sending a student a copy of a "blackout test" (the tests that aren't allowed to be sent out).

2) A student smuggled out a copy of the test--no mean feat, in most cases, but there are reports that some proctors are horrible. The student could then sell the test to the test prep company. Kaplan and Princeton would not do that. They have no need to do that. The strip mall Asian prep companies, which spend no money developing their own material, do that. Not that it matters, because it's the student, not the test prep company, that's violating the rules.

The idea on test prep that I put forward a few years ago is that college admissions should weight more heavily Advanced Placement Test scores because when you are prepping for, say, the Chemistry AP you are really learning chemistry, which is a good thing to learn.

I used to think this, but when you run into dozens of kids who got a 5 in US History with no idea who the 16th president was, or the significance of the US two party system, it dampens your faith. And the Chem/Bio/Physics tests don't have a good reputation.

James Kabala said...

"As for the tests being reused--you all do understand, don't you, that the College Board gives testers a copy of the tests, along with their results?"

Golly, it's been so long that I had forgotten whether I got the test back or not. Thanks for the clarification. That and some other points you made really hurt the anti-Kaplan argument, but they make some of the things I said in his defense seem inaccurate or moot as well. Thank you.

Steve Sailer said...

Did College Board give the test back in the mid-1960s when Schumer worked for Kaplan? My impression is that they did not.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder where these WASP notions of honor were when they busy selling opium?" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_door_policy

Dr Van Nostrand said...

DVN: I dont see how it follows that she hates Gentiles. When she accuses WASPs of rigging the system, it is expression of disappointment that they werent egalitarians after all.

Hunsdon said: Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander, sir. She opened with, as it were, a tactical nuke.

I had mentioned earlier that America is not a propositional nation, but a prepositional nation: to ourselves and our posterity.

To the accusation that WASPs (the actual definition, not the Thurston Howell III implication) preferred a nation of, well, WASPs, I can only put on my shocked face. There's gambling at Rick's?

DVN: All well and good. But if WASPs only wanted their kind to inherit the nation ,why did they invite others. Oh lets not go to 1965, they were all sorts non WASP whites, as well as Chinese ,Japanese,Jews et al way before the progressive era.
I may disagree with you with what they meant by "posterity" but let us assume that they meant those of their ethnic group, it is not very sharp not to elaborate it in the constitution or the Declaration of Independence.

DVN: The difference being the tiny Jewish state isnt interested in dominating the Middle East except a small part and when it was most successful in doing so (in 1948 and 1967) they recieved scant support from U.S

Hunsdon: Have you read A Clean Break, A New Strategy For Securing the Realm? Sure sounds like regional hegemony to me. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, I hasten to add, and in all sincerity.)

DVN: I have read many books about Middle East and Israel ,not to mention having lived and visited different countries many times and have heard all sorts of theories including this one.

This wasnt an actual policy being pursued by Netanyahu as advised by Richard Perle and Doug Feith.

And it is not really hegemony that they wished for but undoing Oslo,strenthening alliances with Turkey and Jordan and give Syria a thorough beating.
Not really all that different from the Israeli status quo
One interesting aspect is that they recommend U.S terminate ALL aid to Israel and that Israel follow free market reforms. Netanyahu chose to pursue only the latter!


Hunsdon:I have a great deal more respect for the Jews of Israel than for the Jews of America. I suspect that a great deal of the ruinous agitation by the neocons is out of a desire to help Israel mixed with guilt over sitting fat and happy in New York and DC, and not having made aliyah.

DVN: I prefer Israeli Jews too. American Jews need to relax and decide whether assimilation is good or bad. There are particular types of Jews I find loathesome- the kind who fault gentiles when Jews dont assimilate(reach professional success) and still fault gentiles when Jews assimilate too well ,intermarry and disappear( it is an insidious Gentile plot)

DVN: Secular Jews who you have a beef with are monkey see monkey do or WASP see WASP do. When WASPs are patriotic ,they are super patriots. When WASPs are Soviet sympathisizers you have the Rosenbergs. When WASPs rebelling against daddy start the free love movement, they simply take it to its logical conclusion.

Hunsdon: Admittedly, I have a hard time coming up with examples of Jews being super-patriots vis a vis America, but it's an interesting argument.


A people without much sense of moderation, then?

DVN: Yes. American Jews for the most part project a superiority that really hides an inferiority complex. Not a good thing.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


For what it's worth, here's an Asian who recoils at the idea of cram schools and test training."

DVN: Hear hear. In India, the trend seems to be kids study from 8am-4pm at school and soon as they leave they are packed to these coaching centres till late night.

That is not good. American schools may focus as little too much on extracurricular activities but overall ,touchy feely lefty propaganda aside, they have the right idea.

No wonder Indian men and women have stunted personalities and cant carry on a conversation apart from work and Bollywood.

" Studying is all well and good, but studying for a standardized test is at best silly and at worst close to cheating (it takes the "standardized" out of a standardized test, for not everybody have access to the study materials -- some may not even think they're supposed to study). Making a business out of it is downright sleazy. "


DVN: The cat is out of the bag a long long time ago. For my SATs, yes I had a Kaplan study aid though I didnt attend the classes.
I taught myself, the only challenging were etymologies of which I had scant knowledge at the time.
The math was really 10th grade algebra and geometry with a little bit of 11th grade pre calc
Piece of cake



"My scores would qualify me to be a tutor at a test prep company, and I hear it's a fairly lucrative gig."

DVN: Well la dee da Poindexter! Mine was a 'mere' 1340 but my excuse was my dad barged to my room in early summer and told me I would moving to college in U.S in fall rather than next spring,threw the Kaplan book at me and said next test date is in 10 days. Get working!

" But it never crosses my mind to pursue it. If you don't deliver, then you're cheating your clients. If you do, then you undermine the system, and make it even that much harder for the diamonds in the rough. So which is it, Mr. Testy Tutor?

DVN: Chill, smart Asian dude! What do you mean "dont deliver". It is never assumed that a dunce would get a decent score either by the Kaplan instructors or the parents.


"I've seen enough of the world to understand that our senses of justice and right and wrong often have a lot to do with who we are, and we are all different. So I'm not going to try to impose my morality on the likes of "Education Realist" and "Dr. Van Nostrand."

DVN: Thank you for not imposing your morality on debauched satanists like myself.I dont want to go around screaming "it burns it burns" when you start quoting Aquinas.

Suffice to say that I much prefer the old Anglo-American elite, its outlook, and the society that it built to anything you guys have to offer.

DVN: Who is "you guys". The Anglo Americans who you laud BTW built it for themselves and not for you Asian dude as other posters have pointed out.
Yes it was a good system but it was rigged.
Now whether it being rigged for the sake of WASPs was good or bad thing is another matter as articulate Hunsdon and the deranged Ben Tillman have elaborated.

Again I dont remember "cramming" anything. I dont see how cramming with those types of questions could lead to high scores.

Pretty much all the guys I know who got high scores in SATs did well in high school.

So I dont think people here understand what exactly Kaplan is doing.

Steve ,a baseball geek, seems to believe Kaplan is the Billy Beane of standardized testing with his emphasis on scores and patterns.And that Kaplan like Beane has figured out a way of beating the "system"

SATs are a way for colleges to figure if the student is good at taking tests.

SATs are also a way in for smart students for some reason or another didnt do well in high school

You see ,nothing really all inappropriate or sinister


Dr Van Nostrand said...


Is there nothing in society that Jews don't want to tear down? The romanticizing of the rebel is the worst social disease of the past 100 years."

Rousseau was not a Jew

Art Deco said...

Hunsdon:

Douglas Feith was one of five undersecretaries of defense, serving alongside the other four, the three service secretaries, and the five service chiefs. Unlike the others, he was not a line administrator. Somehow I do not think government policy revolved around his ass. Richard Perle was a 3d echeleon civilian in the Department of Defense between 1981 and 1987 and otherwise is a think-tank denizen, just like...Jason Richwine.

Anonymous said...

High intelligence doesn't always equate to good common sense. Schumer is the poster child for that truism.