Charles Murray said...
Actually, I'm for the approach Coleman appears to be using. Even went on record saying so. http://www.aei.org/article/society-and-culture/abolish-the-sat/. The data finally prevailed and forced me to accept that a lot of my thinking about the differential effects of the SAT and the achievement tests doesn't pan out in practice (i.e., the SAT doesn't identify diamonds in the rough any better than the achievement tests. ...
I'm inclined to think Coleman knows what he's doing. Which is to say, he seems to agree with me. http://american.com/archive/2007/july-august-magazine-contents/abolish-the-sat
But this simplification of the application process would likely hurt Asian high schoolers because their parents are more likely than other students' parents to get them signed up in time to take all these superfluous tests.
Figuring out the various ideal points in your child's high school career at which he or she should take each of the three SAT Subject tests is the kind of complicated strategizing that Asian parents are most likely to obsess over.
The California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus (who seem, significantly, to be all Democratic state legislators—the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus is part of the California Democrats website) wrote an angry letter to the chairman of the UC Board of Regents denouncing the reforms.
So, switching from the SAT I to your choice of the SAT II Subject tests is not going to lessen test-prepping. Tiger Moms love the SAT IIs.
Something that nobody ever talks about but could make a lot of sense is trying to get the SAT I back to its original intention of being a Scholastic Aptitude Test: i.e., more like an IQ test. Over the decades the SAT I has been repeatedly diluted in the name of "fairness," which, ironically, just plays into the hands of the Tiger Mothers. For example, each year the College Board now releases the list of the 2,000 words from which vocabulary questions will be drawn.
One way to find the IQ subtests that are hardest to prep is to look at James Flynn's list of the Wechsler subtests that have had the smallest Flynn Effect. Raw scores on Information (e.g., What continent is Argentina on?), Vocabulary, and Arithmetic subtests have barely bumped up over the decades, while raw scores on tasks more like programming your VCR have skyrocketed.
Indeed, when I look at what I'm still good at as a middle-aged man relative to the young guns who have enjoyed decades more of the Flynn Effect, Information, Vocabulary, and Arithmetic stand out (along with Comprehension, which is next in least Flynn Effect). Since what every pundit who expresses an opinion on the SAT really wants is for the rest of humanity to Be More Like Me, I think we should make the SAT a tool for producing millions of Steve Sailers. Granted, every single electronic device in America would soon be flashing "12:00," but that's a small price to pay for everybody to possess a more nuanced view of historical trends in golf course architecture.
So, why not merge Murray's proposal to emphasize the SAT Subject Tests with a downsizing of the SAT I away its current bloated (3 hour and 45 minute) state back to an aptitude test? They could cut down on the effects of test prep by emphasizing the elements of IQ tests with the least Flynn Effect, such as general information. Stop releasing ahead of time what's going to be on the test and just draw questions from huge pools. (For example, awhile ago hbd chick linked to a vocabulary test that tried to estimate your total vocabulary. I vaguely recall that mine was somewhere around, maybe 40,000 words. The exact magnitude isn't important, but the ratio to the College Board's annual list of 2,000 words to study is.)
Granted, the the IQ subtests that have the least Flynn Effect are among the most culture-loaded. But, life is pretty culture-loaded, too.