Freedle identified what he called a “differential item functioning” (DIF), a phenomenon whereby reading comprehension is influenced by any number of cultural factors.
In 2005, the College Board changed the SAT exam to include a multiple-choice grammar section and a 25-minute essay writing component.
This new SAT writing section immediately came under significant criticism because of the short time allowed for writing the essay, and because of an MIT study showing that students could raise their scores by simply writing longer essays and including bigger words.
If you think it’s absurd that the potential of each and every U. student (that’s about 20 million for those of you scoring at home) could be effectively measured by a single instrument, you’re in good company.
Let’s impose an arbitrary diagnostic with the power to erase every accomplishment logged over more than a decade of public schooling. In the case of the SAT, and its closest competitor, the ACT, that oversimplification manifests as a single catch-all score designed to encapsulate a student’s aptitude for learning.
Naturally, this was exceptionally problematic with more than 1.6 million students taking the exam in a given year.