Diane Ravitch has a post up on the “new” SAT. I haven’t seen the test, so I have to go by what Diane is describing. I do know that I when I first heard of the “new” SAT, I was sure there was some connection to the brainless Common Core. Yep.
It’s troubling that the writing section will be optional. Being able to write well-constructed sentences is an art. It should be a part of the test.
Diane quotes Superintendent Cohen, whom is critical of the “new” SAT:
Nowhere in our new, vaunted Common Core State Standards are teachers told to be concerned with nurturing young people’s imaginations or their original thoughts about the books they read, about the way nature works, about whether our government’s policies are good or bad, about whether the Pythagorean theorem could be used to help design a better bridge over the Hudson river, or whether “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Nor will the “new” and “fairer” SAT ask students to write about such matters.
Absolutely. Spot on. It’s not enough to be able to repeat what another wrote–but to be able to interpret what they wrote and take it beyond that to expand the dialogue. Or to offer another point of view and facts or theory to back what you’re saying.
As I’m reading the article, I thought about when I took the SAT’s in high school. It was a gamble on my part, because I did not take the college-bound courses offered. That was the time that my Mom was pouring cheese soup over crackers for dinner sometimes….college seemed like an unreachable dream, so I took the easier courses offered. Personally, I don’t think those courses should have been an option–all the students who were capable should have been in the college courses. One really can’t know their potential until they are tested. And when you’re young and unsure of yourself, being tested means taking a risk–putting yourself out there for possible failure. Teenagers would rather die than face what they perceive as humiliation (when in fact it is a growing moment that should be supported, and not humiliated, as some like to do.) And when you’re poor, your options become even more limited because taking a risk could mean consequences for the family (if one risked going to college, and failed, that money spent on tuition is lost.)
I did pass the SAT’s, and was admitted to Indiana University but on a probationary status. I ended up not going because of being unsure of myself (probationary status to me meant “failure”) and interference by someone else. Being supported would have made all the difference at this point in time–maturity, too.
I’m telling this story because I had some rough years in middle school and high school. My grades reflected that. But they didn’t reflect my potential. As you know, I went on to college and graduated much later. It illustrates how badly misguided the Common Core and Race to the Bottom are–we are who we are at any point in time, but who we might grow to be is not measurable by any human tool.