Global observers have been sounding the klaxons for some time now when it comes to the American education system. We’re falling behind all of the smart countries, slowly sinking into a comfortable swamp populated by obese couch potatoes who gaze into their smart phone screens with glazed over eyes. The kids simply aren’t doing well enough on the SATs and the future looks dismal indeed.
But this is ‘MERICA, people! We’re not going to take this lying down! If our kids aren’t doing well enough on the standardized tests, there’s a clear solution. We’ll make the tests easier.
The organization that administers the SAT college entrance exam is adopting some big changes including a new scoring system, an optional essay and getting rid of hard vocabulary.
The College Board, which runs the widely used academic skills test, is changing the scoring system from a 2,400 point max back to the 1,600 points that it once used.
The SAT will continue to test reading, writing and math skills, but the essay portion will be optional. And difficult vocabulary will be replaced with words that students are more likely to use in college or in the workplace.
Somewhere out there, William F. Buckley is rolling over in his grave. But with that, pull up a chair, pour yourself a strong one, sit back and prepare for another installment in our ongoing series, “Jazz Shaw: My Lawn and You Getting Off of It.”
Most of these changes simply make no sense. I’m not sure why they’re going back to a 1600 point system – which shouldn’t matter a bit – but then again, I don’t know why we changed it in the first place. But the essay is optional? I assume that’s just to help people score better if they’re … bad at writing? And by all means, let’s get rid of all the “hard words” because, really… who needs a powerful vocabulary in an age when Bazinga is in the Merriam Webster Dictionary?
But all of this might still leave the test a bit too difficult for today’s teens. Got anything else for us?
Another change will include granting students credit for guessing. Currently, points are deducted for incorrect answers.
Ooooookay. I think we can pretty much turn the lights out with that one. I took the SATs back in the 70’s when the maximum score was still 1600. To put it mildly, I was not exactly a rocket scientist. I managed to break 1340 which wasn’t terrible, but my cousin Rick has already scored 1580 the year before, so any chance at wide approbation among the family was pretty much out the window. But the point is that the test was hard. Everyone in school was sweating it out, and the ones who cared at all worked their butts off preparing for it.
Now we’re going to award points for guessing. Welcome to the new America.