Originally the SAT was developed to provide an unbiased evaluation of people from different social, economic, and educational backgrounds. Then, as now, schools across the country had different curriculum and grading policies, so the SAT offered a more standardized means of evaluating applicants.
The College Board gave its first test in 1901 and the SAT was first given in 1926. The SAT was developed by Carl Brigham, a Princeton University psychologists who helped develop the Army’s Alpha – Beta tests which were used as a type of IQ test to measure the intelligence of recruits.
The initial goal of the SAT was to measure a student’s intelligence. It wouldn’t matter if the student attended a prestigious college preparatory boarding school or a simple public school. The SAT was thought to be a test that would get past social, economic, or cultural privileges and provide colleges with an unbiased evaluation of a student’s intelligence.
Over time the SAT has undergone major changes, often in response to controversy. For decades critics have found fault with SAT questions and asserted the test is culturally and racially biased. Many claims cite test questions dealing with topics or vocabulary that would only be familiar to wealthy test takers. Additionally, critics question the SAT’s ability to measure ability, aptitude, or intelligence.
So a test that was initially thought to be a ticket to the Ivy League for bright and capable students who didn’t come from wealthy families or prestigious boarding schools might be the test that is now keeping those students out.