February 26, 2013

"An improved SAT will strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows are most important to prepare students for the rigors of college and career."

Oh, really? 

And what will that be — writing godawful sentences like that one?

These powerful experts attempt to explain their new project. Can you understand what they are talking about? They claim they have "three broad objectives":

• Increase the value of the SAT to students by focusing on a core set of knowledge and skills that are essential to college and career success; reinforcing the practice of enriching and valuable schoolwork; fostering greater opportunities for students to make successful transitions into postsecondary education; and ensuring equity and fairness.

• Increase the value of the SAT to higher education professionals by ensuring that the SAT meets the evolving needs of admission officers, faculty, and other administrators, and that the SAT remains a valid and reliable predictor of college success.

• Increase the value of the SAT to K–12 educators, administrators and counselors by strengthening the alignment of the SAT to college and career readiness; ensuring that the content reflects excellence in classroom instruction; and developing companion tools that allow educators to use SAT results to improve curriculum and instruction.
So... there are 3 ways you plan to increase the value of the SAT... but what the hell are they? The only difference I see in the 3 ways seems to be the 3 different groups who are assessing value (students, higher education professionals, and K-12 people). But what exactly are you changing? Bizarrely bad communication from the people who test the communication skills of the young. Detestable!

48 comments:

Sam L. said...

I understand it's all crap. Buzzwords. Not having anything to do with student outcomes.

Matthew Sablan said...

This sounds like the standard executive level plan to make things different. "Let's talk about what STAKEHOLDERS need so we can BETTER SERVE them." Then, two years later, after you publish your findings, you have a new executive.

Mike said...

PhD vs Ed.D.

Fernandinande said...

"Can you understand what they are talking about?"

They're avoiding talking about the racial "achievement gap".

Carol said...

...and we have a winner!

rhhardin said...

They did mention enriching.

chrisnavin.com said...

Educrats needed. Apply within.

edutcher said...

Will it teach them to ignore Lefty professors who insist on their way or the highway in class?

Bob said...

> and ensuring equity and fairness

I.e., changing it so the white people and the asians don't outscore everyone else.

Rob said...

I reckon that "ensuring equity and fairness" translates into figuring out how to change the tests so minority groups score better.

bgates said...

The unimproved SAT focused on peripheral knowledge and skills that evidence shows is possessed in inequitable amounts by white and Asian students. The test produced inequitable scores; equity and fairness were ensured by higher education professionals.

Now that the judiciary is moving higher education professionals out of the equity and fairness business, the needs of admission officers, faculty, and other administrators have evolved. Therefore an improved SAT will be of increasing value to the education establishment, because it will foster greater opportunities for students to make successful transitions into postsecondary education - in a way that *ensures* equity and fairness.

The College Board is telling everybody, "We are the test we've been waiting for".

bgates said...

You guys are fast.

Amartel said...

The SAT was designed to level the playing field and provide objective markers for success in college.
And it did.
So it must be destroyed.

Shana said...

Announcing the next round of dumbing down the SAT by self-parodying a la The Underground Grammarian.

Amartel said...

This article tells you nothing about WHY there is a perceived need to improve the SAT or WHAT about the test they intend to improve of HOW they are going to go about it. WHAT's the history of prior improvements such as the one in 2005 which Fair Test says was a failure. Fair Test will never be satisfied; their entire existence turns on protesting objective testing. The article is just a bunch of filler and empty quotes from the college board.

bagoh20 said...

Success in career, and college have nothing in common for most people - entirely different skill sets. And then there is life. That's so easy that it's nearly impossible.

Rabel said...

But what exactly are you changing?

( ) A. Increase the value of the SAT to students.
( ) B. Increase the value of the SAT to higher education professionals.
( ) C. Increase the value of the SAT to K-12 educators, administrators and counselors.
( ) D. Increase the value of the SAT to the College Board.

Use a #2 pencil to fill in the oval by the correct answer.

Also, I have to give Mr. Coleman credit. He has the Middle School principal look down pat.

Unknown said...

The people who are in a position to and want to modify SAT (i.e.folks in college admissions) want to modify it so that they would have scored better. And to a one, people in this field can't do math or quantitative science.

David-2 said...

The stupidification of the American grade school student is accelerating, therefore the SAT must be renormed again, so that all the educators can pretend it isn't happening.

I got my SAT scores back in the day, when a 1600 really meant something. (I walked 3 miles to and from school too - uphill both ways.)

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

My God, edu-blather makes me tired. Ann's right: If I were scoring an SAT, there are several things about that sentence I'd flag right there.

twinsdad said...

no need for a commission or any further studies....just give whites and asians 27 minutes to finish the test...while everyone else can use open books or take the test home if necessary..or maybe use lifelines to call to get the answers.

Lawyer Mom said...

Well I'll be. Had no idea Ben Bernanke moonlights over at ETS.

bpm4532 said...

With more value comes a higher price! We'll all be saved!

Balfegor said...

Increase the value of the SAT to students by focusing on a core set of knowledge and skills that are essential to college and career success;

The more they reorient the SAT towards substantive knowledge and learnable skills, the more valuable it may be, yes, but the bigger the gap is going to be. The more substantive "core" knowledge and skills are tested, the worse students from crappy schools are going to do and the better Asians and Whites who go to good schools (and cram schools) are going to do. If the test designers are prepared to face the consequences of enhancing those racial and class performance gaps, then fine, but I kind of doubt they are.

Maguro said...

I heard they're going to add a swimsuit competition.

twinsdad said...

well it is like the man in the bicycle helmet has been saying for the last 5 years...."it's all about fairness"
another one of those words that turns out not to mean what I thought it did...like journalist...deficit reduction...transparency..leadership....unemployment rate..voter suppression....negative campaign..I'm so confused

Chip S. said...

If Seven Machos doesn't show up in this thread, Meade should borrow somebody's bloodhound and go look for him.

David said...

Rob said...
I reckon that "ensuring equity and fairness" translates into figuring out how to change the tests so minority groups score better.


In 2006 the College Board published a 27 page study on the SAT's and race. African American scores were beyond dismal.

As best I can tell they have not published anything on the subject since.

virgil xenophon said...

Look, it's the failure of the school system, period. SAT scores and averages have been in fre-fall since they peaked in 1963, despite attempts to a) dumb-down the tests and b) "re-center" the averages by adding 100 pts to everyone's score a decade+ or so ago.

The continued free-fall of the scores has seen defenders of the educational system attempt to explain/excuse the low average scores by claiming that more non-English-as a-first-language students are taking the test than ever before, thus driving down average scores. Such explanations don't hold water, however, because of the fact that, if this--and not the fault iof the educational system itself-- were true, the absolute number of perfect scores would continue to rise unabated along with the increasing numbers of test-takers even as averages dropped because of the larger numbers of poorly prepared test-takers. Such a result has NOT been the case, however. Rather, the absolute number of perfect scores has plummeted as well--indicating something is radically wrong with the instructional system itself, and NOT the fault of poorly-prepared test-takers per se.

PS: Armatel@ 6:47 hits the nail on the head..

wyo sis said...

Translation:
We spent the money we made from the previous test and we want to raise the price.

Steven said...

Since the current interpretation of anti-discrimination laws does not allow IQ testing for employment, IQ testing has been moved to the college admissions process, and businesses then get to use US News & World Report to see what schools correspond to what IQ test scores when making hiring decisions.

However, the very same political forces that made IQ testing for employment illegal object to IQ testing for students. Colleges need to at least look like they're responsive to these complaints in order to continue being allowed by law to remain in the business of laundering IQ test data.

Accordingly, colleges demand that ETS occasionally makes various revisions to their test in order to mollify the people who want to destroy a major component of the value of a college degree.

Chip S. said...

I ran this statement thru Babelfish and got this output:

We're going to make the SAT more like the ACT, which was taken by more college applicants than our test for the first time ever last year.

Freeman Hunt said...

They already added an essay section and got rid of analogies. What will they think of next to degrade the instrument?

Freeman Hunt said...

Now that college is high school plus, where do people go for college?

Freeman Hunt said...

Traditionally wasn't the SAT more of an intelligence test while the ACT was more of a knowledge test? Does the SAT aspire to become another ACT?

EDH said...

"An improved SAT will strongly focus on the core knowledge...

Core knowledge?

Know your core!

Sounds like navel gazing.

The Godfather said...

As a lawyer, I've dealt with a lot of consultants over the last 45 years. If a consultant for MY side delivered a report that read like that, I'd throw it out and tell them to re-write it in English, and don't charge the client a nickel for doing so.

If a consultant for my adversary came up with a report that read like that, I'd eviscerate him/her on cross-examination (or if I was really confident, on deposition).

But the people who paid for this report WANT bullshit.

Shana said...

From "The Graves of Academe":

"After sober and judicious consideration, and weighing one thing against another in the interests of reasonable compromise, H. L. Mencken concluded that a startling and dramatic improvement in American education required only that we hang all the professors and burn down the schools. His uncharacteristically moderate proposal was not adopted."

traditionalguy said...

I came in late. Is this another Onion spoof? It's hard to tell the difference anymore.

MadisonMan said...

So they've lost Market Share. Time for a redesign.

My kids took the ACT.

n.n said...

They need a test to determine who would and would not benefit from attending college. This should include a salary guide to aid a cost-benefit analysis, and a market distortion guide to assess costs inflation caused by politically expedient policies. This test would serve the interests of prospective students, but perhaps not administrators, faculty, and politicians.

Dante said...

The goals sound good. The problem is what are schools goals (Diversity?), etc.

In this one, the devil is in the details.

Roux said...

Three broad objectives.....money, money and more money

Oso Negro said...

Perhaps they will add a section that relies more heavily on fast-twitch muscle fiber to level out some of the cognitive demands of the current model.

FleetUSA said...

My father-in-law was a school director in France in the 40's-60's. He told me that he and another director often chatted and decided that all communications from the central government with school directives needed to be put in the round file immediately. They paid no attention to the drivel they were sent....and their students did well.

Shanna said...

We're going to make the SAT more like the ACT, which was taken by more college applicants than our test for the first time ever last year.

I'm late, but that's exactly what it sounds like. When I took the tests, if you wanted to go to state school or school in the south you took the ACT, if you were aiming ivy/east coast/chicago/stanford etc you took the SAT's. There are a lot more people going to state schools probably.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

As soon as Khan develops, implements and promotes (to business) a functional college-level equivalent to the GED ... It. Is. Over. ... for colleges and universities as we know them. At that point College Board's business model collapses.

Shana said...

I also suspect that this has to do with the changing demographics of your average test taker. More women and fewer men are going to college, and women generally seem to prefer and perform better on the ACT.