secrets of the sat
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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SAT
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During the First World War, Robert Yerkes, a leading member of the new IQ testing movement, persuaded the U.S. Army to let him test all recruits for intelligence. This test--the Army Alpha--was the first mass administered IQ test. One of Yerkes' assistants was a young psycholoist named Carl Brigham, who taught at Princeton.

After the war, Brigham began adapting the Army Alpha (mainly by making it more difficult) for use as a college admissions test. It was first administered experimentally to a few thousand college applicants in 1926.

James Bryant ConantIn 1933, James Bryant Conant, on becoming president of Harvard, decided to start a new scholarship program for academically gifted boys who did not come from the Eastern boarding schools that were the regular suppliers of Harvard's students. He gave Henry Chauncey, an assistant dean at Harvard, the task of finding a test to evaluate candidates for these scholarships. Chauncey met Carl Brigham, and came back to Conant with the recommendation that he use the SAT. Conant liked the test because he thought it measured pure intelligence, regardless of the quality of the taker's high school education.

In 1938 Chauncey talked all the member schools of the College Board into using the SAT as a uniform exam, but only for scholarship applicants. In 1942, because of the war, all the pre-existing College Board admissions tests were abolished, so the SAT became te test for all applicants. In 1944, under contract to the Army and the Navy, Chauncey administered the SAT to more than 300,000 people all over the country on a single day. In 1948 the Educational Testing Service was chartered and the SAT was on its way to becoming the basic college admissions device for millions.

The test has changed over the years, but not completely. The web site http://www.the-big-test.com/ has sample questions from the original SAT, and from the contemporary SAT, with instant scoring, if you'd like to try your hand at both.

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