Back in 2016 I wrote about the media coverage of college admissions and testing issue. I’d taken to fisking articles on Twitter under the hashtag #hateread and thought I needed to provide a bit more explanation of that and nuance. I’m updating it now because, with all that’s going on (waves vaguely at the world), finding good information is getting harder. So here goes . . .Continue reading “#HateRead: Admissions, testing and the media”
Ben Simmons and Educational Testing
In a recent interview with Dr. Rawls-Dill, he mentioned Ben Simmons and an example of how what’s measured and who’s evaluating matters in determining success and quality. This really resonated with me and fine-tuned a sports analogy I’ve been making for years. Ben Simmons’s saga is the perfect example of how we’ve let standardized testing define students ability/aptitude/potential.Continue reading “Ben Simmons and Educational Testing”
Should You Take the SAT/ACT or Not?
For parents of 10th, 11th and 12th graders, the question of testing looms large (especially this fall as the test optional movement has really taken hold), so let me try to help you out and give you the lowdown to help you make decisions. I’m not going to do a detailed discussion of testing policy, overuse, misuse, or the like (that’s my day job and this is my side gig), rather I want parents to come away with the tools to make the 3 binary testing decisions on the road to college application:
- to prep for tests or not to prep
- to test or not to test
- to submit scores or not to submit
Also I might update this post like I do my College Admissions Resources post, so check back periodically.
College Admissions Resources
I’ve recently been talking to a lot of friends about how to help their children in 9th – 11th get ready for college. I keep inefficiently sharing the same resources over and over again, so I finally wised up and am going to post my current favorite college admissions resources here. I’m listing mostly informational resources. If I list a blog that doesn’t mean I endorse or recommend the company’s services.
This post will evolve over time (I’ve edited and added to it 6 times in the last 2 days) so feel free to check back periodically and see if there is anything new added.
There is a lot to the college process so I’ll break this resource list into a few general categories:
1. Academic preparation
2. Financial planning
3. College Research
4. Admissions strategizingContinue reading “College Admissions Resources”
Standardized Testing: The Temporal Scan of Education
As the pandemic rages and the issue of testing is discussed in a medical context, I’ve found myself increasingly noticing the parallels between the the ways in which America has discussed and politicized Covid testing and the way in which America has politicized and discussed educational testing. These parallels between medical and educational testing have me wondering if it’s a human or American failing that leads to the being so easily seduced by as Alfred Binet, father of IQ testing, put it “a simple, brutal number, which can have only a deceptive precision.“Continue reading “Standardized Testing: The Temporal Scan of Education”
Don’t Believe the Hype
Brigham tried to warn you in 1936. PE tried to warn you in 1988. Bigham tried to warn you repeatedly since 1990.
But, unfortunately, since the marketing machine of the testing agencies got their grips into the Stanvard Universities the narrative of the SAT providing access has taken root in the American psyche and far too many have bought into the hype about what standardized testing does and doesn’t do. Specifically about what it does and doesn’t do for Black and Hispanic people as a group.
Shuffling the Deckchairs of Testing
I wrote this back in March but then … The Rona. I’m publishing it now since BPS just chose their vendor. I’ll likely dig into that vendor and the test first on twitter but eventually I’ll post something about it here.
After a very public breakup with test-maker Education Records Bureau (ERB), Boston Public Schools is seeking a “new test” that “accurately assesses a student’s knowledge of content they’re taught in class and has been rigorously reviewed to ensure it is free of bias.” This is disappointing since it shows that BPS seems to be set on continuing to ignore research and reiterating its faith in the cult of overtesting.Continue reading “Shuffling the Deckchairs of Testing”
It’s Time to Fix Standardized Testing
The global pandemic has wreaked havoc and the educational status quo and disrupted not only how students are taught and tested. Schools are radically adjusting how they deliver lessons and testing agencies are revamping how they deliver their assessment. The inability to gather in a room has forced the cancellation of statewide assessments, the shortening of AP exams, and major admissions tests (like the ACT, GMAT, GRE, ISEE, LSAT, SAT, and SSAT) to develop online at-home testing options. This is the moment to fix many of the things that are broken about assessments.
Since their beginnings in the late 1800s, standardized tests have become an oppressive force in U.S. education and have influenced many other areas of society, yet in that same time there have been only marginal changes in the tests themselves. Despite reams of papers and scores of conference presentations, a high score on a 4 or 5 answer-choice aggressively-timed test continues to be treated as the epitome of intellectual demonstration. This has gone so far that, in the midst of a global pandemic, one (intentionally unnamed or linked to) author questioned whether epidemiologists should be heeded above economists, asking, “How smart are they? What are their average GRE scores?”Continue reading “It’s Time to Fix Standardized Testing”
College, Career, and Cremation Benchmarks
As the new school year begins, I am anxiously awaiting (read: dreading) the forthcoming SAT and ACT annual reports and with them the inevitable exaggerations, hand-wringings, misinterpretations, and statistical paralogisms that will follow. The College Board’s Total Group Reports and ACT’s Condition of College and Career Readiness Reports (or Profile Reports) will not only spark the annual “sky-is-falling because district scores have dropped .005 points” responses but will also likely lead to an uptick in the “SAT/ACT scores show students not ready to succeed in college, career, life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.”Continue reading “College, Career, and Cremation Benchmarks”
Are Changes Coming to College Admissions?
We know it doesn’t feel like it, but it’s been less than 6 months since the Justice Department announced the indictments resulting from Operation Varsity Blues, so it’s no surprise that few universities have announced any substantial policy changes in their admissions procedures. If most big institutions move slowly, universities look at them and wonder, “What’s the big rush there?” There are still committees to be convened in order to create sub-committees that can issue memos that can be circulated in order to be approved as official reports by committees who can then move items forward for approval by the faculty and/or Board of Trustees. In other words, don’t expect big changes in how colleges admit students anytime soon.Continue reading “Are Changes Coming to College Admissions?”