S.A.T.

Images I have never liked the whole concept of the SAT for several reasons which I will not go on about today.  In a world that is so completely different from 30 years ago where experts are trying to figure out how to use the technology of today to make smart more focused students.  Where people are thinking about not going to college because of the serious amount of debt that they walk away with.  Where schools are attempting to create progressive environments that are more practical for left brain and right brain thinkers, we are still taking standardized tests to help a kid to get into the school of their choice. 

Emily's frustration level is high just as Jessica's was and I am sure Josh's will be too.  Today sent me over the top when Emily told me that the October SAT is scheduled for Columbus Day weekend.  Are you kidding me?  Did some idiot just throw a dart on a calendar and decide that Columbus Day weekend would be the best time to test the overly stressed kids across America on the weekend where they actually get an extra day to recharge their batteries.  I'd love an answer from the person who runs the SAT/College Board to explain that idiotic decision. That decision says to me that nobody is actually managing the store. Yet every High School kid in the US has to rely on the college board to provide testing so they can get a score to add to the other data that is provided for each college or university to figure out if kid is the right fit.  

Emily is the editor of the school newspaper and in complete frustration she wrote this op-ed piece which will appear in the newspaper at her school in the next week.  She has hit a lot of nails on the head.  Maybe this should be her college essay?

The Scholastic Aptitude Test,
otherwise known as the SAT, is unfair, corrupt, and frankly, complete bullshit.
As stated on collegeboard.com, “The SAT is a globally recognized college
admission test that lets you show colleges what you know and how well you can
apply that knowledge. It tests your knowledge of reading, writing and math —
subjects that are taught every day in high school classrooms.” This statement
is completely untrue.

How can the SAT “let you show colleges what you know and
how well you can apply that knowledge” when it’s not like some kids don’t stay
up until four AM in the morning taking unnecessary amounts of Adderall or
Ritalin, whether they are prescribed or not, to study for this test that is
supposedly not made so that one can study for. Not only that, but while the
actual test may be standardized, preparing for it is the polar opposite of
standardized – for colleges to require their applicants to take this test is
unfair and in doing so, they practice class discrimination. Students who come
from upper-middle class families can be tutored ten hours a week from the
so-called best tutors in town from eighth grade on in order to insure that they
receive a perfect score while students who come from families that cannot
afford any tutoring at all – the best they can do is to tutor themselves in
hopes of getting the best score possible, but only the self-motivated kids will
do this.

So, what message are colleges sending us? That top-notch education is
only for the rich who can afford endless amount of tutoring or for the lower income kids who
are born geniuses? And what about kids who get straight A’s in school but
simply do not test well? Should they get denied from an Ivy League school that
they could easily thrive in just because they didn’t get a 2300? The SATs force
kids to hibernate in their houses and give up their social lives. They create
tension in school when kids begin to receive their scores and share them in joy
or lie about them and cry in the bathroom. Is this really necessary? 

           

         While
the SAT may be standardized because every student, besides kids who quality for
extra time, receives the same amount of time for each section, does not mean
that it assesses one’s skills appropriately. What if one does not apply their
knowledge in the way that the SAT requires one to? The College Board states,
“taking the SAT is the first step in finding the right college for you — the
place where you can further develop your skills and pursue your passions.” Yet
why would the SAT ever determine for you where you belong, and help you to find
a place where “you can further develop your skills and pursue your passions”?
The SAT in no way measures your skills and most definitely does not measure
your passions. It measures your test-taking skills, and in all honesty, why
does that matter? It is not at all the most important thing when it comes to
college. What is important is learning while being in an environment in which
you are among peers and professors that teach you as you teach them. What is
important when applying to colleges is that they see the true you – your real
skills and passions, and the SAT does not assess this efficiently. 

           

           Coming
from a progressive school, I learn in an environment that is different from the
traditional textbook driven curriculum. My peers and I learn in an environment
where conversation and interaction with our peers and our teachers is valued
most. Tests take a back seat – we learn to be passionate individuals who will
thrive in the outside world, we learn important social skills through
interactive ways of learning and we learn so much more than any student could
learn from lectures and textbooks. The SAT is a test that will never take this
into consideration. The SAT is in no way a progressive test. So what about us
progressive learners? We have to learn how to study traditionally so that we
can get an excellent score on a stupid test so that we can get into our top
choice school.

        Taking three AP tests, three SATIIs, and the SAT Reasoning
as many times as it takes to achieve my ideal score seems utterly ridiculous.
Yet it’s what my parents, my tutor, and my own self tell me is necessary to
have the best shot in expressing why I should be accepted into whichever school
I desire – I am told, and therefore I tell myself, that I need to take these
tests, and I need to do excellently on them, because writing an essay in which
I tell schools who I am, showing them my transcript with my grades, and
outlining every extracurricular I’ve ever participated in throughout my high
school career is not enough. In order to secure a kick-ass application, I need
to ace the SATs, and even if I do that, who knows if I’ll get in?

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