1. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    SAT writing? 120 seconds that can change your future.

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by JJ_Maxx, Oct 12, 2013.

    I read this today:

    The SAT writing test teaches students how not to write.

    And it amazes me that we want to teach our children how to write, but we lack the infrastructure to give them the attention that they truly need.

    The author says this about the 'graders' of the essay portion of the test, which counts for 11% of your overall grade:

    So there you have it, if you take more than three minutes to grade an essay, your fired. If you can do it in two minutes, you get rewarded. Also, they are only giving it a rating of 1-6.

    So they suggest you put in your essay a quote, a few big words and a couple made-up anecdotes and you'll get a good grade. Apparently, content or facts don't matter, either. Just make it look pretty.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    That would explain why so many college students are poor writers.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sadly, nothing surprises me any more...
     
  4. slamdunk
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    slamdunk Member

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    In defence of this, any system is probably going to be as bad and open to all sort of wrongs and bias if you try to judge "free" writing. Everyone has their own idea of good writing.

    Writing unlike mathematics is not a precise science of right and wrong so you can interpret a work and judge those skills however you like on a scale. And nobody can prove you wrong.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Let the colleges you apply to judge your writing skills (by the college application essay). Get rid of the writing portion on the SAT I say!
     
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  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never understood why they added the writing portion to the SAT -- it just doesn't make sense as part of a standardized test. I agree with thirdwind that colleges should evaluate writing skills through the essays that are part of the application.
     
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  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The only problem with that is that the student can get help with his application essay.

    The solution, IMO, would be to spend far, far more time grading those SAT essays. But of course, that would mean that the test would cost far, far more.

    Edited to add: Three minutes seems like barely enough time to distinguish between literate and illiterate--at that speed, a scale of 1 to 6 seems like excessive precision. Maybe Fail, Pass, and Surprisingly Good might be supportable in three minutes.
     
  8. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is an excellent point. Although I still don't think an essay is amenable to a standardized test with a standard score. I think if colleges and the SAT want to have a writing component, perhaps, the SAT should simply forward the copy of the student's essay that they wrote as part of the SAT to the colleges, along with the score on the other parts of the test, but the essay itself should remain unscored. That way, colleges will have a sample of a student's writing that they know was written by the student himself, alone, and in a timed situation. They can assess that essay in any way they want -- disregard it entirely, or compare writing styles with the essay(s) submitted as part of the application, etc.
     
  9. zabaar
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    zabaar Member

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    Robotic essays with no style
     
  10. graphospasm
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    graphospasm Senior Member

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    I took the SAT twice; scored perfectly each time with a completely formulaic essay structure I came up with during my P-SAT practices. It took zero creativity, absolutely no critical thought, and I was done in half the time it took my peers (the majority of whom had lesser scores).

    Moral? The test is hackable, cheatable, and geared toward average opinions that don't require the reader to think about what they're reading--spoon feed the grader the opinion they're most likely to have and you're golden. Not a good standard for any kind of writing, ever, at all, end of conversation.
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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