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The College Board misspells words to help you learn

October 23, 2008

misspelling in a standardized test title is…adorable?

"misspelling in a standardized test title is…adorable?"

The College Board, presumably in response to the rising numbers of colleges instituting “SAT-optional” admissions policies, has ingeniously targeted a whole new class of customers: middle-schoolers. Intended as a “diagnostic tool” to help “identify strengths and weaknesses so students [can] use high school to effectively prepare for college”, ReadiStep consists of multiple-choice questions in critical reading, writing, and math. Setting aside the questionable judgement required to examine a student’s writing skills without ever asking to him, you know, write, one wonders why this test should be better at identifying academic strengths and weaknesses than said student’s nine years’-worth of report cards. Report cards full of grades earned in the process of actual learning, with the advantage of not being a giant screaming waste of time. 

Lee Jones, a College Board VP, is adamant that this isn’t a “pre-pre-pre SAT“, but James Choike, an Oklahoma State U math professor and member of the test development committee suggested that giving students “at an early stage a taste of an SAT-like examination,” could “raise collegiate aspiration levels.” Remembering the many SAT-like examinations I took in high school–the PSAT, the SAT, four SAT II subject tests, and the ACT–I’m curious to know how an early taste of such high-stress tedium could raise anything but apprehension and exhaustion levels. Wouldn’t introducing something other than the worst aspect of college be more likely to “raise collegiate aspiration levels”? Couldn’t we just leave them unsupervised with a bunch of their friends and some cheap beer for a weekend? 

Thankfully, schools and districts would be purchasing the tests, at $10 each, which protects families from having to pay for the College Board’s newest nonsense themselves.

However, TCB’s still cutely misspelled “ready”, for no particular reason, and this is still a terrible plan.

 

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