Writing section to be part of SATs in 2005

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From the Christian Science Monitor, A new look for SATs.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), June 24, 2002


Our education system continues to focus on preparing students to become career test takers. (Translation: I can hardly think of a context outside of the classroom, where a person would be given twenty-five minutes to express something in writing.)

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), June 24, 2002.

Come on, David. Both in private industry and especially in the U.S. Government, I've had to write tons of memos that took me longer than 25 minutes per. And I have been truly appalled at the number of my co-workers who couldn't write for jack.

-- Peter Errington (petere7@starpower.net), June 24, 2002.

David, too many grads couldn't write the paragraph you just did. We can test them or maybe just take their word but industry is screaming for people who can put together a few sentences and have them make sense to someone else.

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), June 24, 2002.

I allotted myself 25 minutes to come up with an example for you and write it down, but, uh, uh, maybe an ellipsis would be a good way to end this ...

-- dandelion (golden@pleurisy.plant), June 25, 2002.

There is no substitute for the ability to read and comprehend and to be able to write in a manner that is clearly understood by others. If you are a young person today and possess these skills you will go far.

Sadly when we were younger these were talents that were expected of all young people, not just the elite.

-- Jack Booted Thug (governmentconspiracy@NWO.com), June 25, 2002.

Peter, I meant to say "...where a person would be given only twenty-five minutes to express something in writing." It's a good thing I won't be taking the SATs in 2005.

We are all in agreement on the importance of good writing skills. But I've found that the primary requisite for good writing is clear thinking, and that can take time. Many times I've spent an hour crafting just a single paragraph. Making students compose under severe time constraint is going to reveal little besides their ability to write by formula.

A better way to measure writing skill may be for college admissions departments to have students submit papers they've written while in high school. Granted, many departments lack the resources to personally evaluate each applicant's writing, but that doesn't necessarily make standardized testing an adequate substitute.

I spent about thirty-five minutes on this post.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), June 25, 2002.

I agree that good writing often takes time. One must address the typewriter, open one's veins and wait. The muse is not always ready. Then there is the time for required to allow the written words to marinate and to edit and rewrite them. All true for creating literature.

But another critical skill is fluency, written and oral. Fluency embodies impromptu communication skills---the type that are needed in everyday life. Strikes me that fluency is one of many appropriate criteria for college readiness. (we're supposed to have learned something prior to college).

A practical problem with submitting papers previously written in HS is the one of originality (how do we know that the HS paper was written by the student in question?) Also, do the Universities have the time and person-power and objectivity to carefully review essays?

IMO, science must develope methods of intelligence testing/motivation testing/character evaluation that are quick, accurate, replicatable and bias-free. There should be a national goal to create a bio-electronic device that accomplishes this, possibly using brain waves detected by an instrumented beanie kept at the ready in the College Admissions Office. The beanie would be legally required to be calibrated to NIST criteria 4 times per year.

I spent 5 minutes on this post.

-- (lars@indy.net), June 25, 2002.

Five minutes on that post? I'm speechless.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), June 25, 2002.

Me too David. Usually I just blurt but serious composition requires poring over. Guess what we're all talking about is the ability. 25 minutes isn't bad if you have had some serious practice beforehand.

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), June 27, 2002.

How can this be uniformly graded throughout the country? What are the criteria? Who defines the criteria? Will all graders objectively look at the writing the same way? Of course not. This won't be easy and I personally think it's extremely stupid. What happened to teaching writing skills while in school? I know the answer to that one - we did away with that when we started teaching touchy feely skills.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), June 28, 2002.


The scariest thing about this is that the essays will be primarily judged by a software program-this is what happens on other standardized tests (Like the LSAT). THis brings to light David's concern about "writing by formula". Exactly. If a test taker does this the essay will score high

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), June 30, 2002.

There is only one answer: science must develop a quantitative technique to quickly and objectively determine an individual's potential for higher education. I was wrong to suggest a bio-electronic beanie to quantify brainwaves. How old-fashioned!

Obviously the method will utilize a DNA profile. It's time that we separated the Alpha people from the inferiors.

-- (lars@indy.net), June 30, 2002.

We can thank the liberal left for ‘dumbing down’ our country to the point where most high school students can’t string together three coherent sentences. Essay answers are difficult to cheat on so that alone will anger the liberals, who have always promoted the concept of ‘just get by’.

Hey FS, someone kick your rock over? Or, as many have suspected, are you just using your old name for a change? Looks like ‘Errorton’ couldn’t wait to suck your dick in return for stroking his fragile ego.

What a matched pair.

-- Past (present@future.sucks), June 30, 2002.

Award everyone a PhD from Harvard at the moment of birth. What more could be fair?

-- (roland@hatemail.com), June 30, 2002.


Bit of a projection, eh? Since you do not reveal who you are you project on me that I have been posting anonymously. Nope. Have not been here in months, but am on vacation this week and am checking in.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), July 03, 2002.

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