March 10, 2005

SAT-isfaction guaranteed?

The new SAT happens Saturday morning. The newspapers are going crazy with articles about this; I like the Modesto Bee's article best. The title's cute, and they take the time to mention that the SAT was originally created to help combat the unfair "wink-and-a-nod" pipeline of quotas and legacy admissions. (I could do without the roach ad at the bottom, though.)

USA Today cracks me up with its description of the value of text messaging:

Though plenty of adults grumble about e-mail and instant-messaging (IM), and the text messages that send adolescent thumbs dancing across cell phone keypads, many experts insist that teenage composition is as strong as ever and that the proliferation of writing, in all its harried, hasty forms, has actually created a generation more adept with the written word...

As for the much-maligned lexicon of IM "r u there?" and "wuzup?" teens insist they haven't forgotten formal English, and are undaunted by transitioning between the two. E-mail "has made us definitely way more comfortable about writing, because we're doing it every day," says Myles McReynolds, a junior at Mullen High School in Denver, who's taking the SAT Saturday...

Yes, but what are they writing about? If this student's quote is representative, the answer is, "Not much":

Nathalie Arbel, who's taking the SAT Saturday, has reservations about the essay questions, too...she's skeptical of the topics, which offer students a quotation and ask them to respond with their own opinions and examples from literature, history, or personal experience. "In general, they're kind of dumb," she says. "We're regular teenagers, and a lot of times we don't necessarily have an opinion on issues they test us on."

She recalls a sample question: What is your view of the claim that history is made not only by the actions of great leaders, but also by the contributions of average people? "I don't know or care if contributions are made by leaders or average people," she says. On top of that, she questions the rubric for scoring tests. "People generally despise standardized testing, and standardized essays are even worse because it's really difficult to tell how it's going to be graded."

Ooooh my. She doesn't know or care, so she thinks she shouldn't be tested with an essay prompt that allows students to write about personal experiences, so knowledge of facts isn't necessarily essential. What's more, she thinks she shouldn't be tested at all, because "people generally despise standardized testing." For someone who doesn't know or care about a lot of things, she's quite a know-it-all.

Posted by kswygert at March 10, 2005 09:41 PM