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Yikes! (SAT scores)

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Re: Yikes! (SAT scores)

Postby Madison » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:43 pm

bigh0rt wrote:
Madison wrote:
bigh0rt wrote:Well, when you consider that a 1500 out of 2400 is 63%, yeah, it's pretty low. But the biggest problem at play here is not the percentiles being scored on the exam, but the exam itself.


Oh man. You really believe that the test is the problem? It's not the students, parents, and teachers? It's the exam? Please tell me I'm reading that wrong and you're not really shifting the blame to a piece of paper. :-/

Please tell me I didn't read that H0rt! :~(

I assure you that the SAT exam is a wildly flawed, inaccurate measure of intelligence, ability, or anything else it attempts to measure. It is this reason that many colleges and universities are no longer requiring it as part of the application process. Should the kids be getting higher scores? Of course. But living in a state with more standardized educational tests for its students than any other in the entire U.S., I can apply some of the major downfalls of the system which governs NY and apply them to the SAT (and then some, since the test itself is structured so poorly). When an exam is structured in such a way as the SAT, a completely foreign and silly (my opinion) measure of assessment, that you actually have entire prep courses to learn and strategize over how to take it, then there is obviously a problem.

Again, in spite of all of this, the kids should still be doing better. Although, contrary to all of that, despite what many parents think, many of their children are not only getting a much better education than they believe they are, but also getting a much better one than they themselves got, even though nothing could convince them otherwise. Texas and New York seem like night and day, but I hear many of the same statements, concerns, etc. because it seems like the easy and/or popular thing to do.


All I know is I took the SAT and it wasn't anything remotely close to what I'd call "hard" or "difficult". When I hear kids are barely getting half the questions right on a general aptitude test (which is all the SAT is, general aptitude), that's scary. Of course it isn't the be-all-end-all of testing, it's just general knowledge, but the scores should be much higher. 75% isn't an unreasonable target in my opinion, it's not like I'm saying they should get 9 out of 10 right (90%). They should easily be able to get the majority of the questions right though, and 63% is pretty sad.

The prep courses have been around forever, and as far as I know (in my limited experience since I didn't take any prep courses, but did hear the scores of those who did in my school), they don't do any good.

I don't doubt my kid's school is requiring them to learn more than my generation was required to learn. The difference is how much of that are they actually learning (meaning "retaining"). I don't know the answer to that question, but yes, the schools are requiring more to be taught nowadays than they did in the old days. Hopefully enough is sticking so it can be called a better education. The jury is still out on that for me.
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Re: Yikes! (SAT scores)

Postby bigh0rt » Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:27 pm

Madison wrote:
bigh0rt wrote:
Madison wrote:
Oh man. You really believe that the test is the problem? It's not the students, parents, and teachers? It's the exam? Please tell me I'm reading that wrong and you're not really shifting the blame to a piece of paper. :-/

Please tell me I didn't read that H0rt! :~(

I assure you that the SAT exam is a wildly flawed, inaccurate measure of intelligence, ability, or anything else it attempts to measure. It is this reason that many colleges and universities are no longer requiring it as part of the application process. Should the kids be getting higher scores? Of course. But living in a state with more standardized educational tests for its students than any other in the entire U.S., I can apply some of the major downfalls of the system which governs NY and apply them to the SAT (and then some, since the test itself is structured so poorly). When an exam is structured in such a way as the SAT, a completely foreign and silly (my opinion) measure of assessment, that you actually have entire prep courses to learn and strategize over how to take it, then there is obviously a problem.

Again, in spite of all of this, the kids should still be doing better. Although, contrary to all of that, despite what many parents think, many of their children are not only getting a much better education than they believe they are, but also getting a much better one than they themselves got, even though nothing could convince them otherwise. Texas and New York seem like night and day, but I hear many of the same statements, concerns, etc. because it seems like the easy and/or popular thing to do.


All I know is I took the SAT and it wasn't anything remotely close to what I'd call "hard" or "difficult". When I hear kids are barely getting half the questions right on a general aptitude test (which is all the SAT is, general aptitude), that's scary. Of course it isn't the be-all-end-all of testing, it's just general knowledge, but the scores should be much higher. 75% isn't an unreasonable target in my opinion, it's not like I'm saying they should get 9 out of 10 right (90%). They should easily be able to get the majority of the questions right though, and 63% is pretty sad.

The prep courses have been around forever, and as far as I know (in my limited experience since I didn't take any prep courses, but did hear the scores of those who did in my school), they don't do any good.

I don't doubt my kid's school is requiring them to learn more than my generation was required to learn. The difference is how much of that are they actually learning (meaning "retaining"). I don't know the answer to that question, but yes, the schools are requiring more to be taught nowadays than they did in the old days. Hopefully enough is sticking so it can be called a better education. The jury is still out on that for me.

But is it really assessing general aptitude? Or scholastic aptitude, like the exam's title suggests? Should the test be formulated in such a way that there exist courses that teach the student, not more content knowledge that may be on the test, but strategies for taking them (FWIW, I've never taken such a course, but students and parents alike who have or have had their children take them rant and rave about their effectiveness -- I believe I've read studies showing significant increase in scores when taking the exams, but it may have just been word of mouth and me misremembering like Roger Clemens)?

Beyond that, the scoring does not translate into standard percentages, with the +4/-1/0 Right/Wrong/Blank. The SAT is literally the only exam I've ever seen scored even close to this way. The test wasn't hard or difficult for me, either, but I've never really taken a standardized exam that was -- that doesn't mean they're good tests though.
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Re: Yikes! (SAT scores)

Postby CheeseBeger » Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:31 pm

Uh, I thought the test was designed so the median performance on the test resulted in a score ~500
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Re: Yikes! (SAT scores)

Postby Yoda » Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:51 pm

bigh0rt wrote:
Madison wrote:
bigh0rt wrote:Well, when you consider that a 1500 out of 2400 is 63%, yeah, it's pretty low. But the biggest problem at play here is not the percentiles being scored on the exam, but the exam itself.


Oh man. You really believe that the test is the problem? It's not the students, parents, and teachers? It's the exam? Please tell me I'm reading that wrong and you're not really shifting the blame to a piece of paper. :-/

Please tell me I didn't read that H0rt! :~(

I assure you that the SAT exam is a wildly flawed, inaccurate measure of intelligence, ability, or anything else it attempts to measure. It is this reason that many colleges and universities are no longer requiring it as part of the application process. Should the kids be getting higher scores? Of course. But living in a state with more standardized educational tests for its students than any other in the entire U.S., I can apply some of the major downfalls of the system which governs NY and apply them to the SAT (and then some, since the test itself is structured so poorly). When an exam is structured in such a way as the SAT, a completely foreign and silly (my opinion) measure of assessment, that you actually have entire prep courses to learn and strategize over how to take it, then there is obviously a problem.

Again, in spite of all of this, the kids should still be doing better. Although, contrary to all of that, despite what many parents think, many of their children are not only getting a much better education than they believe they are, but also getting a much better one than they themselves got, even though nothing could convince them otherwise. Texas and New York seem like night and day, but I hear many of the same statements, concerns, etc. because it seems like the easy and/or popular thing to do.


+1

There are so many problems with the SAT. It is culturally biased, doesn't accurately measure what is being taught in class, biased towards English Language Learners, and people who study for the exam have a huge advantage. I believe there needs to be some sort of standard testing to measure how much knowledge a student has but SAT is very flawed.
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Re: Yikes! (SAT scores)

Postby bigh0rt » Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:52 pm

The test was originally designed to be a predictor of collegiate success (and I believe still claims to be), particularly in Year 1. Meanwhile, every study I've ever read, other than the one the College Board itself ran shows a more direct correlation between... you guessed it, high school scores and collegiate scores, than that of the SAT. The most cynical people believe the test to be not much more than a way to bring money in. The New York Times was very critical of the changes made in 2005, adding the writing section which opens the door to more subjectivity than the exam even contained prior (many colleges are still not using the new section due to its still unfounded validity). Notice the changes were made in 2005 after in 2002, the University of Cal threatened to remove it from its admissions process (which several other colleges already have since then, and continue to do, as I previously mentioned). If this test were a fair and valid assessment in measuring aptitude, capability, or predicting future success, more and more colleges wouldn't be moving away from it.
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Re: Yikes! (SAT scores)

Postby Madison » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:03 am

bigh0rt wrote:But is it really assessing general aptitude? Or scholastic aptitude, like the exam's title suggests? Should the test be formulated in such a way that there exist courses that teach the student, not more content knowledge that may be on the test, but strategies for taking them (FWIW, I've never taken such a course, but students and parents alike who have or have had their children take them rant and rave about their effectiveness -- I believe I've read studies showing significant increase in scores when taking the exams, but it may have just been word of mouth and me misremembering like Roger Clemens)?

Beyond that, the scoring does not translate into standard percentages, with the +4/-1/0 Right/Wrong/Blank. The SAT is literally the only exam I've ever seen scored even close to this way. The test wasn't hard or difficult for me, either, but I've never really taken a standardized exam that was -- that doesn't mean they're good tests though.


My opinion is general aptitude. No one knows exactly which questions will be on the test, so teaching/learning in a way that allows the students to figure out the answers is the best way to go. Kind of like teaching addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and then giving the kid a word problem. Figuring out the answer falls into general aptitude to me. Scholastic aptitude would be being able to quote exact dates of such and such war (memorization and retention of the data basically).

The prep courses were failures in my opinion simply because if someone took (and paid for!) those courses, there should have been some real results. Only one or two people I went to high school with that took at least one prep class broke 1,200. At least 50 took at least one prep class. So that's a terrible percentage and why I call the prep classes failures.

Yoda wrote:There are so many problems with the SAT. It is culturally biased,


That silly claim is quite outdated. :-b It was around back when I took the SAT and half of the test back then was math (even now, a third of the test is math). Numbers don't have culture, don't care about culture, are universally accepted, and are quite factual in nature. Bias is impossible in that.
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Re: Yikes! (SAT scores)

Postby Yoda » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:13 am

Madison wrote:
Yoda wrote:There are so many problems with the SAT. It is culturally biased,


That silly claim is quite outdated. :-b It was around back when I took the SAT and half of the test back then was math (even now, a third of the test is math). Numbers don't have culture, don't care about culture, are universally accepted, and are quite factual in nature. Bias is impossible in that.


Go through the reading section when you get a chance. I am in the process of obtaining my masters in school psychology (which 1/3 of it is testing) and cultural bias is one of the biggest problems with standardized tests. But anyway...
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Re: Yikes! (SAT scores)

Postby Madison » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:21 am

Yoda wrote:
Madison wrote:
Yoda wrote:There are so many problems with the SAT. It is culturally biased,


That silly claim is quite outdated. :-b It was around back when I took the SAT and half of the test back then was math (even now, a third of the test is math). Numbers don't have culture, don't care about culture, are universally accepted, and are quite factual in nature. Bias is impossible in that.


Go through the reading section when you get a chance. I am in the process of obtaining my masters in school psychology (which 1/3 of it is testing) and cultural bias is one of the biggest problems with standardized tests. But anyway...


If the "culturally biased" view had any merits at all, math scores would be significantly higher than the other section(s). As far as I know, that isn't the case.

And arguing that a test given in English about the English language is "culturally biased" is humerous in itself. I had to take two years of foreign language in high school. Had I done poorly in those two classes, I could have used the same "culturally biased" excuse, and of course that excuse is simply that - an excuse. :-b
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Re: Yikes! (SAT scores)

Postby bigh0rt » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:32 am

Madison wrote:
Yoda wrote:
Madison wrote:That silly claim is quite outdated. :-b It was around back when I took the SAT and half of the test back then was math (even now, a third of the test is math). Numbers don't have culture, don't care about culture, are universally accepted, and are quite factual in nature. Bias is impossible in that.


Go through the reading section when you get a chance. I am in the process of obtaining my masters in school psychology (which 1/3 of it is testing) and cultural bias is one of the biggest problems with standardized tests. But anyway...


If the "culturally biased" view had any merits at all, math scores would be significantly higher than the other section(s). As far as I know, that isn't the case.

And arguing that a test given in English about the English language is "culturally biased" is humerous in itself. I had to take two years of foreign language in high school. Had I done poorly in those two classes, I could have used the same "culturally biased" excuse, and of course that excuse is simply that - an excuse. :-b

Just because you believe something to be true or untrue, does not make it such. I haven't read enough literature (nor do I really care enough) on the subject to have a heavily weighted opinion on the potential culture bias of the SAT, but the argument is certainly not outdated, nor is it not pretty strongly supported in many parts of academia. The argument is never that the test is biased because it is given in English and not in native language for ESL/ELL students (I'm not sure if they can or can't had the exam administered in their native languages, to be honest -- they might be able to). So your example here really doesn't apply.

FWIW, here's a guy who agrees with you, Madison. And here's a paper I had to read for an undergraduate education assessment course on culture bias across most or all standardized testing.

At the end of the day, from where I'm standing, the SAT measures one thing and one thing only (consequently, it's one thing it doesn't claim to attempt to measure) -- a student's very specific test-taking abilities. Because of this, it is going to be relied upon and required less and less by more and more colleges and universities as part of the admissions process.
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Re: Yikes! (SAT scores)

Postby Metroid » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:35 am

All the results of tests like this show is that the student knows how to take tests, and knows how to retain and regurgitate information. They do not measure intelligence nor problem solving skills.
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