Sunday, January 20, 2013
Further Problems With The SAT
If you read the last post, you'd be familiar with our friend Dr. Perelman. His study on SAT essays not only focused on their lengths, but their content as well. While analyzing the lengths of the essays, Perelman also noticed factual errors in several essays. In one particular essay which scored a perfect 12, the writer explained that the American Civil War began with the firing of one shot at Fort Sumter. Almost anybody who has taken American History could tell you that the first battle of the Civil War did indeed occur at Fort Sumter, but it was started by an entire Confederate army bombarding the fort for days. When Perelman contacted CollegeBoard to inquire about these flaws in content, CollegeBoard responded by explaining how essays are graded based on the quality of the writing, and not the quality of the actual support making up the argument. The SAT, by CollegeBoard's definition, is a test designed to assess how well students are prepared for their first years in college and also how well they think. How can the test accurately assess such attributes when it's openly saying it's okay to just pull facts out of the air and ignore their legitimacy? How could a skill like that benefit a prospective college student in any way? Again, CollegeBoard had an answer for this, stating that the way students learn to write their SAT essays should not be the primary way through which they learn to write. If the SAT essay is not something students should be learning to write, then why in the world are students being forced to write it on the SAT? If the SAT wanted to be effective in assessing students, shouldn't it ask them to write they way they would for a real essay, and not just write essays that are as long as possible and crammed with made up facts?