Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mexican-Americans and the SAT

The SAT has been a source of controversy for many years, because - not surprisingly - wealthy people do well on the test and poor people don't. Wealthy people set the rules in most societies about what is important to learn, and teach their children accordingly.

Bilingualism is mostly unimportant in the United States in judging whether a person is educated. In Europe, someone who speaks only one language is basically considered an idiot. And in Asia, every educated person is expected to know English, as well as their mother tongue. Even though most Asian languages are radically different than the Romance branch.

So we have a curious case of the most bilingual ethnic group in the United States, Mexicans, scoring some of the lowest test scores. This is because knowing multiple languages is not considered a sign of intelligence here - and because wealthy people in the United States have kids who are mostly not bilingual. And Mexican-Americans, as a sum, are concentrated in the poor and working class segments of the population. This reveals the SAT test to be what it is - a rather arbitrary measurement of a person's intellectual development.


Anonymous said...

SAT is just one of the bits of pieces that serve the wealthier class of Americans far more than the working class.

Is it really any different for Asians and Europeans? Does the economic value of english to Asians benefit their masters more than themselves? If it does, why would it be any different in Europe?

The monetization of civilization is an evolution of theory that has yet to submit to the framework of limitations on individual wealth and entitlement. Until then the world will be stuck in the economic, social and political systems that have been built within the philosophy of money itself.

Anonymous said...

Knowing multiple languages should be considered a sign of intelligence anywhere. It's just a matter of time and effort in memorisation and practice. If you grow up in a bilingual household then learning two languages does not even require time and effort; it is automatic.

Anonymous said...

Learning a second language is most commonly a free education where learning the curriculum of the SAT is not. Bilingualism has a higher value when it is connected to economic interests.

Anonymous said...

So how come Asians whose native may be Mandarin or Indians whose may mother tongue be Hindi routinely take Latinos to the cleaners on the SAT? Is the SAT only culturally and socioeconomically biased to the Latinos downside???