I will create a business where smart people can make a lot of money if they are productive, but I will only hire people who have never attended college, and they will have to sign a contract promising to never ever attend college or apply to any job that uses standardized tests to recruit workers.  Capitalism is a great experiment that allows us to see if intelligence tests can predict success in a relatively laissez-faire Darwinian struggle, but once we start using intelligence tests like the SAT to select the successful, we put our thumb on the scale, and the testers goes from being brilliant fortune tellers to tyrannical self-fulfilling prophets.

The analogy I always use is imagine you were trying to measures the predictive validity of running speed among cheetahs competing for survival, and you found out that someone was interfering with the experiment and giving food to the cheetahs that scored best on the speed test.  That would increase the correlation between speed and survival among cheetahs, but the correlation would be less meaningful, because the game has been rigged in favour of the fastest cheetahs.

This is why I despise Ivy League schools.  They are actively giving people who score high on IQ equivalent tests (i.e. the SAT) extra opportunities, and thus putting their thumb on the scale.  If smart people get ahead, it should be because they figured out how to adapt to capitalism or because the marketplace values the goods and services they provide; it should never be because their test scores gave them extra opportunities.  I would rather live in an organic kakistocracy than a socially engineered meritocracy.  Thank goodness here in Canada we are free of the Ivy League caste system.

Advertisements