Friday, March 18, 2011

CHANNELING PRAVDA! Why is Bill Gates saying those things? Truly, we have no idea:
FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011
How not to get into college: The SATs have been in hot water this week because of the writing assignment which appeared on one-third of its recent tests. Unlucky students were forced to respond to this incoherent “prompt:”
SAT PROMPT: Reality television programs, which feature real people engaged in real activities rather than professional actors performing scripted scenes, are increasingly popular. These shows depict ordinary people competing in everything from singing and dancing to losing weight, or just living their everyday lives. Most people believe that the reality these shows portray is authentic, but they are being misled.
How authentic can these shows be when producers design challenges for the participants and then editors alter filmed scenes?

Do people benefit from forms of entertainment that show so-called reality, or are such forms of entertainment harmful?
Defending the assignment, the SAT’s executive director told the New York Times this: “The primary goal of the essay prompt is to give students an opportunity to demonstrate their writing skills.” For that reason, we don’t know why students wouldn’t be given a choice of three or four topics. That said, we were mainly struck by the horrible writing displayed in the prompt itself.

“Most people believe that the reality these shows portray is authentic?” We won’t attempt to pick apart the incoherence of the full prompt. But if we were scoring, no student could have received a top score unless his or her essay began with this paragraph:


(Also accepted: “Say what?”)

In our view, it’s pretty sad when the testing industry offers such mumble-mouthed confusion on one of its highest-profile tests.

Our question: If the SAT creates writing like that, do you have faith in its ability to grade the writing of others?