GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A assignment given to students at an Upstate high school is under investigation by the district after it raised some concerns with parents.
The survey was given Friday by a substitute teacher in a Psychology class at Travelers Rest High School.
It’s called Project Implicit, a series of Implicit Association Tests (IATs) aimed to research social perspective on topics like race, age, gender, weight, religion, and more. The survey was written by three scientists in 1998 to educate the public about different biases.
Studied by a team of researchers from Yale University, Harvard University, the University of Washington, and the University of Virginia, the testing site specifically states that it’s designed for adults aged 18 and older. Yet, this month, it was assigned to a tenth grade Psychology class at Travelers Rest High School.
The assignment contained questions about minority groups that the Greenville County School District said was “inappropriate.”
“I was floored. I was speechless. I couldn’t believe the questions. It blew my mind and then the anger took over and I was upset. You know, this was a school doing this,” said Corey Pittman, mother of two Travelers Rest High School students.
A screenshot taken by a student of the quiz showed questions pertaining to sexual orientation and values involving people of different races. There were a variety of choice options. During part of the test you are asked to match the “correct” key with the proper word or picture, and at times you were prompted to choose from a list ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.
Some of the questions listed in the survey included, “I would be willing to have sexual relationships with a Black Person” and “Most politicians care too much about Black people and not enough about the average citizen.” Those taking the assignment were then prompted answer one choice on a scale of strongly disagree to strongly agree.
Another question asked “How different or similar do you think Black people are to other people like yourself in their sexual values and sexual practices?” Students could choose one of four answers ranging from ‘very similar’ to ‘very different.’
7NEWS logged onto the site to survey the test ourselves. There were several sections that, when completed, determined your level of social awareness. Individual test options are available to take on political views, disability, gender, weight, skin-tone, age and others.
“They were given it in class. There’s several different tests and if they were not able to finish it they were asked to take it at home,” said Pittman. “I told her [Pittman’s daughter] she’s not going to finish it.”
High School parents, like Pittman, said they’re concerned that the assignment was not age appropriate. She said her 16-year-old daughter and other students were asked to alter the year they were born to have access to the assignment.
“The students were asked to change their birth year to make them 18 in order to take those tests,” Pittman explained. “This is just not about the place or the age. To me, this is a parent’s job to teach these kinds of things at home and not the schools.”
Greenville County School District was recently made aware of the assignment.
They released the following statement:
On Friday, a Travelers Rest High School psychology class was assigned a quiz called the Implicit Association Test from a nonprofit organization that was not age-appropriate and contained inappropriate questions that are not in-line with the district’s instructional curriculum guidelines. The link to the assignment has been removed and will not be used in any class moving forward. The district and the school’s administration are in the process of fully investigating the matter.Greenville County School District
Moving forward, parents hope the assignment teaches a lesson and that someone is held accountable.
“I teach my children to treat everyone with the same respect,” said Pittman. “Someone needs to be held accountable for it.”
Greenville County School District said the incident remains under investigation.