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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on Opposing the English Usage Element in the Scholastic Aptitude Test

1974 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana

Background

Any attempt to limit students' linguistic expression to an arbitrarily established correct form while repressing their individual interpretation of reality is contrary to an accepted goal of American public education—the development of individuals to their fullest potential as creative human beings.

The usage section which has been added to the Scholastic Aptitude Test ignores the findings of linguistic science by implying that a single American dialect is the desirable mode of written expression for all students. This addition evaluates the students' ability to choose a form arbitrarily identified as correct. However, this superficial concept of "correctness" ignores the students' ability to produce logical, thoughtful, imaginative language. In setting forth a single dialect standard as the norm, this part of the test is racially and socially biased and excludes the dialects of millions of American students.

Since this section of the SAT, despite warnings by the test makers, will be used to determine college admissions and placement in English courses, be it therefore

Resolution

Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English urge the publishers of the SAT to remove this linguistically invalid addition made in 1974 to the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

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