Education, politics, and anything else that catches my attention.
The first time I took the test, I didn't even finish the essay and got an 11, the second time, I wrote one identical in quality and got a 6. I think the SAT as a whole is defunct. My reading score jumped but my math score plunged, even though I currently have an A in your class:). Besides, what does it matter if someone "tests well"? I know plenty of people who don't apply themselves or even care about their education at all obtain incredibly high scores. The SAT only proves that these individuals can best withstand a five hour test starting at 7:30 in the morning.
I taught SAT prep with the new essay. The student author missed the point. The SAT board intentionally does not give any weight to the evidence cited. Michael Jackson or Moby Dick, they receive the same consideration. Some inner city students have never heard of Moby Dick, so requiring quotations from great works of literature will raise cries of elitism that the SAT Board has worked very hard to put to rest. The point of the essay is: do you understand the question, and can you back it up with evidence? I told my students to feel free to make up scenarios or quote from their personal lives to back up their thesis statements. If the student wants credit for knowing great literature, he should take the English Literature AP exam, which tests college level literature skills. The SAT essay is only testing one's ability to put together a cohesive, persuasive essay.
KimJ, thanks for the view from the inside :-)
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