A group of students, advocacy groups and a primarily black and Hispanic California school district filed suit against the University of California last week, alleging that the SAT and ACT college admission tests discriminate against black and Hispanic students and demanding that the school stop using standardized test scores in its admissions process.
The theory that the tests are biased against poor and mainly black and Hispanic students concludes that the system illegally discriminates against applicants on the basis of their race, wealth or disabilities, thus denying them equal protection under the California Constitution. This battle has been fought before, of course. There was a time, decades ago, when foes of standardized testing could point to test questions referring to yachting and Western philosophers, baking in a bias that handicapped students fromracial and ethnic sub-cultures in America. Those prejudicial questions have been purged, but the long-time disparity between the test scores of white and Asian applicants on one side and black and Hispanic students on the other continues. Continue reading