The SAT -- Maybe I'm not so 'verbal' after all by Sharon Johnson O'Donnell
Still, I haven't been able to get over how much of an impact this test plays in the futures of our teenagers. Gaining admission in to a college is much more competitive now than it was 20 years ago, and that all-important SAT grade is more important than ever. The pressure on my son and his peers is significantly higher than it was on me when I took the test in 1980. And let's not even talk about the high school GPA. I know this is having a detrimental effect on the mental, physical, and emotional health of our teens, and it concerns me a great deal. Tests are inevitable, but I don't feel we need to make the questions tricky.
My fourth-grader's long division, by contrast, was a breath of fresh air: you do the division, multiplication, and subtraction, and repeat the process until you get an answer and remainder. A definite answer. No ambiguity. No implications. As a journalism major and freelance writer, I never thought I'd prefer any kind of math over anything reading/writing related; however, some questions on the SAT verbal section have made me think twice about that.
Some of the words on the test are ones that everyone should know and that are used in the business world often. But what is the use in being tested on ones that 99.9% of the population doesn't know? Let's let them concentrate on the words they really need to know to communicate effectively rather than words that make high school English teachers scratch their heads as they ponder a two blank sentence completion question in the vocabulary section.
January 22nd approaches. D-Day. So to my son and to all those other teens out there who will be taking the test next Saturday -- good luck -- I will be thinking of you and thanking God that I don't have to take it myself.
Labels: later motherhood