New, Reading Heavy SAT has Students Worried-NYTimes

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Kol Drake replied the topic: Re:New, Reading Heavy SAT has Students Worried-NYTimes

No talk about knees or jerks.

At one time, all who came to America KNEW -- to succeed meant learning English. It meant hard times and hard work. Those who did the hard parts saw successes. Not always the first generation but those that followed built on that work and ability to speak the language of the country they lived in.

For some reason -- and mostly after the 60s - it seems that those who came to America wanted 'the good life' but also wanted everything to be 'more like home' so we got neighborhoods and entire communities that barely spoke English and complained when driving tests and other official documents were not offered in their native language. Heck, in California, they have to offer their driving tests in 32 different languages; 23 in Kentucky.

What happened to learning the language to get ahead? Paperwork processing has become a nightmare as the list of languages 'required' gets longer and longer. It is one thing to get a 'toe hold' / 'hand up' -- another to take advantage of an open system and abuse it to failure.

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Jax replied the topic: Re:New, Reading Heavy SAT has Students Worried-NYTimes

We've seen through research that a person's success on these exams has more to do with their class than their intelligence. It isn't a good predictor of success in college either. Yet that's what they're marketed as. Instead what it creates is an increased class divide. If we want to change our society so it's actually reflective of hard work, a person's potential, and whether they are a good candidate for college (or a specific job) then we need to make sure our method of evaluation is working. More and more colleges are weighting these and other exams less because they don't work. What they do is show who has had the advantages throughout their educational system, who could afford to take test prep classes, not who would be a good college student and eventual graduate.

This isn't about rewarding laziness. But I work with people every day who don't have english as their first language. They are intelligent. They work hard. They are good at their job. But if you start throwing in less common english words to an exam that would be required to do well in, they wouldn't be here. Yet day to day I see how we make the language work for us all by making modifications. But let's look at the example from the article. They provided uncommon words from biology or medicine which were irrelevant for the math and for most people. Those who will study medicine will learn them, certainly. But those who instead go on to study engineering or geophysics like my coworkers don't need those words to be successful in this industry. They need other industry specific words. Their english is based on the common language plus the industry specific ones. Using subject specific words in a math problem is unnecessary and makes it about vocabulary more than math. They could easily have said leg bone and not penalized people for not having as large a vocabulary. The goal is the recognize math comprehension which is tested just as well by using simpler english words.

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