Readers' reactions

April 28, 2000

Last week in The THES... Ken Richardson argued that aptitude tests would not get more working-class children into university.

Anyone interested in the way that scholastic aptitude tests work should examine the impact they have had in Israel where psychometric testing partly determines higher education entry. There, a whole industry has been spawned around the tests, dedicated to coaching youngsters for the "psychomet-rica" - to the point that the test has been rendered almost valueless as either a diagnostic or predictive tool. I say "almost valueless" because those under-performing (in relative terms) will invariably be from families who have been unable to afford the coaching. So in a perverse sense, the Sat is a discriminator of social background after all!

Howard Goldsobel, London, W1

...and two weeks ago, Deborah Lipstadt suggested that her victory in the David Irving libel case would make writing history easier

The trial focused on exposing Irving's personal prejudices rather than the case he was presenting as a historian. That is, we do not have a law against Holocaust denial, but we do have one against anti-Semitism. If we can prove that Irving is anti-Semitic and link that to the concept of Holocaust denial, we do not need to seriously examine the case for criticising the account given of the Holocaust.

Shoaib Qureshi

shoaib.qureshi@philips.

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