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May 05, 1989 - Image 9

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1989-05-05

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, May 5,1989-Page 9
SAT class founder questions test's biases

BY NATALIE ENGLER The Princeton Review is an in-
AND PHILIP COHEN tensive six-week course offered in 50
The Scholastic Aptitude Test cities, and taken by 25,000 students
(SAT) has recently come under fire per year. Students pay $600 for the
again for alleged biases on the basis course, which improves their scores
of race, sex and class. John Katz- by an average of 130 points, Katz-
man, the self-proclaimed leader of man said.
the SAT "reform movement," and The course grossed $15 million
founder of the Princeton Review - last year, and Katzman said he
the nation's largest SAT coaching spends 50 percent of the profits on
0 course - was in Ann Arbor this his Princeton Review Foundation, a
week to promote his course. program aimed at helping disadvan-
In an interview with the Daily taged students. He also publishes a
and David Maurrasse, member of the $9 book for those unable to afford
United Coalition Against Racism the course.
steering committee, Katzman criti- But Maurrasse said he questions
cized the SAT and discussed his role the motive behind Katzman's
in the effort to change college ad- accusations against the SAT, since
missions policies. He added that the the test remains his principle source
test has consistently favored wealth- of income.
ier, white male students. "I think no matter what
"I'd love all schools to replace [Katzman] says, he's supporting the
[the SATs]," Katzman said, but he whole system - the Educational
does not favor abolishing them Testing Service, the standardized
completely. "I'm not sure - as a tests, and the bias. The goal should
businessman and an educator - that be to abolish the test because no
I don't think there should be any test matter what courses or books are
at all." created, the bias will always exist."
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Katzman said he would like to see of any standardized test.
the current SAT replaced by one "My solution to the SAT and
which would consist of a choice be- other standardized tests is to abolish
tween various essay questions rang- them. They do not determine intelli-
ing from moral and/or creative topics gence or any future success, but they
to relevant social issues. The test determine race, gender, and economic
would be graded by English teachers, background and thus support an ex-
journalists, and creative writers. clusionary educational system."
"I'd love to be the guy to set it Critics have accused Katzman of
up and administer it," Katzman said. exploiting the issue in order to fur-
Maurrasse is critical of a solution ther his economic position. But
that he feels would perpetuate the Katzman insists that he's "on the
biases inherent in the administration right side of the table" on this issue.

"Be careful where you point the fin-
ger," he added. "We're working our
asses off to make the situation bet-
ter."
But for Maurrasse and other crit-
ics, the problem is deeper. "It is not
just standardized tests, but the entire
American educational system that is
racially and gender biased, and it has
been that way since its inception.
This is the time for drastic change;
we've waited long enough."

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