Monday, December 10, 2007

Chitlin Testing

I had a conversation a while back with That Girl Boo about the cultural bias of aptitude tests like the SAT, and how folks use the results of such tests to disparage our people as a whole. If the situation were reversed and the questions asked of students were based on the Black experience, history, and events, I'm sure that we would be writing a whole lot of articles about why White (and other) kids aren't as smart as their black counterparts. Then I saw this today:

As soon as she heard her classmates giggle and utter the word "Negro," 17-year-old Kayla Thomas started thumbing ahead in the test that had been handed out to her psychology class.

Thomas, a student at Klein Collins High School in the Klein district, says she was stunned to find that her Advanced Placement class had been given a copy of the so-called "Chitling Intelligence Test."

The multiple-choice exam, which includes references to "handkerchief heads," welfare mothers and how long chitlings should be cooked, was written almost 40 years ago to illustrate how intelligence tests could be culturally biased.

I've got to be truthful here y'all, I didn't know this test even existed, but apparently it's been around for 40 years. And apparently it has proven over the years that aptitude tests ARE biased. But my question is what other tests are still used in the exact same form they were originally written, without updates, for 40 years? I mean, I don't think most of us could answer these questions nowadays, although I'm not sure if that link is to a real example of the so-called Chitlin Test, particularly due to the title (Black Intelligence Test for Cultural Homogeneity), but you get the point. Ms. Taylor was understandably upset:

...Thomas says the materials, developed after the 1960s race riots in Los Angeles, aren't appropriate for a modern-day high school class. In addition to an apology from the teacher, she wants the Klein district to remove the material from its curriculum.

"It's not right," the senior said. "It's not acceptable. This is the 21st century."

The district says it's all a big mistake and everything would be fine if the regular teacher would have been there to prepare students for the materials they were about to see. What do y'all think? Are these tests still relevant?

1 comment:

Angie-in-Japan said...

Oh my goodness, DP! Didn't know anything like this existed. Do we have to share our score??