Campus Reform: SAT tutors reportedly believe that the college aptitude test has a gender bias because of one math question and one verbal passage on this year’s exam, but The College Board denies it, saying it has observed no gender-based differences in scores.
The New York Times reports that the contentious item in the verbal section reportedly asked students to critique a passage from an author arguing that women belong in the home. In the math portion, test-takers were exposed to a hypothetical chart displaying more boys than girls enrolled in math classes.
“I’m not saying we should put everybody in a rubber room so they couldn’t possibly be touched by controversy,” said Dr. Joshua Aronson, a psychology professor at New York University. “But why would you go out of your way to couch a percentage problem as a girls-in-math problem?”
The verbal section has a question contrasting of Catharine E. Beecher’s 1837 “Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism” along with a reply by Angelina E. Grimké. While Beecher argues that divine law mandates women be lower than men and thrive only in the domestic region, Grimké makes the case for equal gender rights.
Dr. Aronson, who has reportedly pioneered research on stereotype-driven test stress, said the reading passage, which was placed early in the test, could give female students “cognitive fatigue.”