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(Slate)   The SAT writing test is making kids not write good   (slate.com) divider line 44
    More: PSA, SAT Scores, high schools, Kaplan, College Board, The Washington Post Company  
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4192 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Oct 2013 at 10:18 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



44 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-10-11 10:19:08 AM  
What about reading good and doing other stuff good?
 
2013-10-11 10:19:23 AM  
Can't tell a tweak from a twerk from a tweet these days.
 
2013-10-11 10:21:59 AM  
They shouldn't have built all those centers for ants.
 
2013-10-11 10:22:24 AM  
OK, I read the article. Learning to bullshiat on demand is key to America's prosperity, isn't it?

/yuh get the gubmint yuh dee-serve, I tell ya whut.
 
2013-10-11 10:23:01 AM  
Lololol. Watevr.
 
2013-10-11 10:23:31 AM  
How to Write Good by Michael O'Donoghue
 
2013-10-11 10:27:24 AM  
"Making stuff up" is a critical skill in the modern workplace.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-10-11 10:29:30 AM  
write good

You need the adverb form in this construct: write goodly.
 
2013-10-11 10:40:15 AM  
One big problem, as I see it, is the time frame. I know plenty of people who are extremely intelligent and excellent, if uncreative, writers who are very slow to develop really good documents and plenty who are moderately bright, but make up for it by being very quick to produce something that's 90% as good. This test emphasizes fast decent writing over slower excellent writing.

tl;dr - you're not helping
 
2013-10-11 10:42:15 AM  
I would think that good mammaries would be beneficial in remembering past events occurring in present time.
 
2013-10-11 10:45:35 AM  
No shiat.

The problem with the standardized writing tests is that they hire college students to grade them and the essays are quickly skimmed because they have thousands to read through.

This forces you to to put your main point at the top of every paragraph, because that's pretty much the only part they'll read. It ends up being more of a bullet point list with flavor-text instead of actual competent writing.

/Aced the GMAT writing test with that trick
 
2013-10-11 10:48:54 AM  
The writing test doesn't have multiple choice, that's the problem.
 
2013-10-11 10:58:28 AM  
So what.      I don't read too good nohow.      It don't matter.
 
2013-10-11 11:03:39 AM  
I can't say I don't disagree with that.
 
2013-10-11 11:06:37 AM  
Pathetic. Students get 25 minutes to spew out an essay, then graders take all of 2-3 minutes per essay to score something that could have a significant impact on college bound students' options.

It could be worse though. From TFA:
Computerized scoring is now used to grade writing submitted as part of the GMAT and TOEFL exams, among others.

Computerized essay grading.... wtf?
 
2013-10-11 11:10:28 AM  
Subby must have failed his SAT. The headline should read "The SAT writing test is making kids write not good."
 
2013-10-11 11:10:54 AM  
Well it's one thing to say "turn in your report on time, you have two weeks," and quite something else to say "you have one hour."

My evidence? The vast majority of Fark comments.
 
2013-10-11 11:14:06 AM  
The tests are all arbitrary measures of absolutely nothing except how well you study the arbitrary rules for that test. When else in life do you need to understand x is to y as b is to... Comparisons? They're not intelligence measures, and I say that as someone who got a national merit scholarship.
 
2013-10-11 11:16:40 AM  
Sounds like a job for the

themagentablog.com

/hot
 
2013-10-11 11:19:42 AM  

patrick767: Pathetic. Students get 25 minutes to spew out an essay, then graders take all of 2-3 minutes per essay to score something that could have a significant impact on college bound students' options.

It could be worse though. From TFA:
Computerized scoring is now used to grade writing submitted as part of the GMAT and TOEFL exams, among others.

Computerized essay grading.... wtf?


I've taken the GMAT, its only because you type the essay into a computer (the whole test is computerized).

The GMAT math test set up is the dumbest I've ever seen: no calculator, no scratch paper or a pencil, 3 mins a question. They instead gave me a laminated graph paper sheet and a marker to do my calculations. My hands where covered with black ink by the end and I practically bombed the math section.

/So glad I'm done with that
 
2013-10-11 11:21:17 AM  
images.wikia.com
 
2013-10-11 11:21:18 AM  
"What they are actually testing," he says, "is the ability to bullshiat on demand.
Isnt that pretty much the point of high school? I know the IB program at my high school developed my bullshiatting ability to unimaginable heights. In situations where i knew i wasnt going to be fact checked ive turned in completely invented reports with fake citations and scored well on them.

And dont even get me started on multiple choice tests...
 
2013-10-11 11:22:04 AM  
here is the best story you can write as fast as possible:


For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.
 
2013-10-11 11:26:23 AM  
Their primary complaint seems to be that test takers are motivated to write about things that didn't happen.  Who the fark cares? You're not there to give them a truthful account of your life. You're there to demonstrate your writing skills.  It's not the content that matters. It's how you present it.
 
2013-10-11 11:27:13 AM  
Reminds me of the graphic portions of the Architectural Registration Exam.

You basically draw floor plans and sections in a computer program with the graphic power and interface of Logo Writer.

They give you a list of requirements (program, and code) and you draw. The drawing is then graded by computer.

The program only checks to see if you meet those specific technical requirements (correct number of doors? yes/no. Do you have enough hallway width? yes/no. is the kitchen adjacent to the dining room? yes/no).

Things like efficiency, design, quality, or code items not on their specific list, are not graded. And its not as if the code they are asking you to meet is the real building code. they just make up their own.
 
2013-10-11 11:29:53 AM  
As an SAT prep professional, I couldn't agree more. Except with everything that Kaplan idiot said. There's a reason good instructors don't go to Kaplan, and there's a reason parents and students are abandoning Kaplan in droves. What he said to do doesn't work.
 
2013-10-11 11:46:03 AM  
tl:dr
 
2013-10-11 12:00:21 PM  

LemSkroob: here is the best story you can write as fast as possible:


For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.


I prefer:

For Sale: Infant-sized burial casket. Like new.

Or:

The last man on Earth sat in his living room. There was a knock at his door. It was the last escort on Earth.
 
2013-10-11 12:04:23 PM  
Obvious tag couldn't get past the analogy portion apparently.
 
2013-10-11 12:26:17 PM  
I'm hugely amused that they got the former director of the writing program at MIT, Les Perelman, to comment on this. I myself took MIT's placement exam in writing back in 1993 when I'd first arrived there as a freshman, and I was one of 39% of students who passed the test. How? By making shiat up.

From The Tech's article about the freshman essay evaluation results that year (http://tech.mit.edu/V113/N37/tests.37n.html) :

"I think the questions this year went very well," Perelman said. He added that the responses were "quite thoughtful."

From Slate's article twenty years later, by contrast:

"What they are actually testing," [Perelman] says, "is the ability to bullshiat on demand."

None of this stuff is new.

What matters is that you can effectively write, which means that you can effectively and cogently communicate an idea or an argument in writing. It doesn't matter whether you're basing your writing on your actual experiences or even on reality. What matters is that you can form a coherent argument and communicate it, and do so QUICKLY.
 
2013-10-11 12:52:00 PM  

Honest Bender: Their primary complaint seems to be that test takers are motivated to write about things that didn't happen.  Who the fark cares? You're not there to give them a truthful account of your life. You're there to demonstrate your writing skills.  It's not the content that matters. It's how you present it.


Yup, he might as well call all works of literary fiction worthless because none of those happened either.

/LotR sucked because hobbits aren't real
 
2013-10-11 01:12:42 PM  
The writing section was introduced the fall of my Junior year so mine was the first class that had it included in our scores. We pretty much had no idea what worked and what didn't. I took the new test twice and my writing section was the lowest score by at least 60 points each time.

I like what the LSAT does. It has a writing section that's ungraded but sent to every school you apply to so they can see what you can pull out of your ass in 30 minutes at the end of a 4 hour test.
 
2013-10-11 01:22:34 PM  
I did the GRE at the age of 30, and it knew I was addressing the writing portion entirely too seriously when I should have been bullshiatting it, but I couldn't help myself. Got a 4.5/6.0.
 
2013-10-11 03:03:12 PM  
Author of the article pretty much misses the point of the SAT written essay entirely.  You're not being compared to Hemmingway or Austen or other literary geniuses in that section.  You're also not being fact-checked like a journalist.  That's not the point.  You're being compared to the 3-3.5 Million high-school graduates coming out each year.  Some of them can't even speak, let alone write English.  Others are screaming idiots.  Many are "average" and their writing skills fall all over that wide range, and some can actually put words together in a coherent sentence.  The SAT written essay basically just attempts to grade you somewhere on that extremely broad scale.  So if you write in complete sentences, address the issue in the question, don't exhibit shockingly bad spelling or grammar, use basic paragraph structure and maybe just maybe make an argument or point somehow, you're college material mate!  Perfect score!

If you try to over-think it and go all David Foster Wallace on it then you'll probably get a low score because you didn't follow the very simple directions.  Your Freshman year professors will tell you the same thing.
 
2013-10-11 03:24:52 PM  

timharrod: How to Write Good by Michael O'Donoghue


I miss Mr. Mike.  Good thing his work lives on.
 
2013-10-11 04:44:02 PM  
Well, nobody but politicians should ever have to produce things on demand.

I mean, write some words on the spot? WTF is this country coming to?
 
2013-10-11 05:10:20 PM  

cefm: Author of the article pretty much misses the point of the SAT written essay entirely.  You're not being compared to Hemmingway or Austen or other literary geniuses in that section.  You're also not being fact-checked like a journalist.  That's not the point.  You're being compared to the 3-3.5 Million high-school graduates coming out each year.  Some of them can't even speak, let alone write English.  Others are screaming idiots.  Many are "average" and their writing skills fall all over that wide range, and some can actually put words together in a coherent sentence.  The SAT written essay basically just attempts to grade you somewhere on that extremely broad scale.  So if you write in complete sentences, address the issue in the question, don't exhibit shockingly bad spelling or grammar, use basic paragraph structure and maybe just maybe make an argument or point somehow, you're college material mate!  Perfect score!

If you try to over-think it and go all David Foster Wallace on it then you'll probably get a low score because you didn't follow the very simple directions.  Your Freshman year professors will tell you the same thing.


You're still churning out an "essay" in 25 minutes that will be graded in 2-3 minutes tops by someone who's paid by the volume of essays they grade, so they'll just be skimming it and chucking out a score. It's a shiat system.
 
2013-10-11 05:26:34 PM  

patrick767: You're still churning out an "essay" in 25 minutes that will be graded in 2-3 minutes tops by someone who's paid by the volume of essays they grade, so they'll just be skimming it and chucking out a score. It's a shiat system.


When you're grading short essays written by kids, it doesn't take more than a couple of minutes to come up with a score.   The bad ones arereally bad.

I've graded quite a few essays in my day (for math classes, believe it or not).  Even if I give a class of juniors and seniors more than a week to write three pages, half of the essays I get come back looking like they were put through Google Translate four times.  The stuff kids vomit onto exam pages must be even worse.  Essays that bad are completely unreadable, so there's no reason to waste even three minutes going through them.

The hardest part is separating those that are slightly above average from those that are pretty good but not great, but even that doesn't take very long.  Remember, these kids just get a few minutes to write them, so there isn't much to read.
 
2013-10-11 09:05:13 PM  
Personally, I don't think anyone should be admitted to a major university unless they can write cursive so they can do a first-rate 3-hour bluebook exam. I had to do a handwritten entrance essay.

/lawn
 
2013-10-11 11:23:52 PM  
From TFA:

"What they are actually testing," [Perelman] says, "is the ability to bullshiat on demand. There is no other writing situation in the world where people have to write on a topic that they've never thought about, on demand, in 25 minutes."

This guy who is suppose to be a writing bigshot from MIT has never heard of impromptu speaking?  Or policy debate?  What he described is almost exactly the impromptu competitions the Virginia High School League holds, except contestants get seven minutes and speak off a notecard instead of writing.

It's not about whether you'll ever have to, say, write an essay within a time limit on a topic of somebody else's choice at gunpoint.  It's that stripping down and intensifying the problem (formulate and deliver a coherent argument in a time limit) separates those who can do it well from those who can do it only poorly (or not all) more dramatically.
 
2013-10-12 12:47:12 AM  

puddleonfire: Personally, I don't think anyone should be admitted to a major university unless they can write cursive so they can do a first-rate 3-hour bluebook exam. I had to do a handwritten entrance essay.

/lawn


I was a B high school student, A college student. Biggest difference: my Kaypro 2. My professors didn't have to read my chicken scratch. (and they didn't care if my in-class exams were
In cursive or print).

/not cutting class also probably helped
 
2013-10-12 04:00:29 AM  

Cyno01: "What they are actually testing," he says, "is the ability to bullshiat on demand.
Isnt that pretty much the point of high school? I know the IB program at my high school developed my bullshiatting ability to unimaginable heights. In situations where i knew i wasnt going to be fact checked ive turned in completely invented reports with fake citations and scored well on them.

And dont even get me started on multiple choice tests...


Hey, even if the "facts" were fake, you still used them properly.  That skill is what English classes are attempting to teach you.  Sounds like the IB program is succeeding.
 
2013-10-12 02:32:03 PM  

shtychkn: Cyno01: "What they are actually testing," he says, "is the ability to bullshiat on demand.
Isnt that pretty much the point of high school? I know the IB program at my high school developed my bullshiatting ability to unimaginable heights. In situations where i knew i wasnt going to be fact checked ive turned in completely invented reports with fake citations and scored well on them.

And dont even get me started on multiple choice tests...

Hey, even if the "facts" were fake, you still used them properly.  That skill is what English classes are attempting to teach you.  Sounds like the IB program is succeeding.


Oh, i wasnt talking english classes specifically, research papers for other subjects too...

English i had fun with though, i remember hating literary analysis, its such bullshiat, did the author really mean x to symbolize y, etc. I cant even remember what book, but i found an interview with the author where he was like "No, people always think this is about X, but its absolutely not, i never intended that" I wrote my paper about how the book symbolized X and got an A...
 
2013-10-12 11:15:39 PM  

Kensey: From TFA:

"What they are actually testing," [Perelman] says, "is the ability to bullshiat on demand. There is no other writing situation in the world where people have to write on a topic that they've never thought about, on demand, in 25 minutes."

This guy who is suppose to be a writing bigshot from MIT has never heard of impromptu speaking?  Or policy debate?  What he described is almost exactly the impromptu competitions the Virginia High School League holds, except contestants get seven minutes and speak off a notecard instead of writing.

It's not about whether you'll ever have to, say, write an essay within a time limit on a topic of somebody else's choice at gunpoint.  It's that stripping down and intensifying the problem (formulate and deliver a coherent argument in a time limit) separates those who can do it well from those who can do it only poorly (or not all) more dramatically.


Those aren't exactly real-world situations either, are they?
 
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