What’s happening in education?

Essay optional. No penalties for wrong answers. The SAT college entrance exam is undergoing sweeping revisions.

            Changes in the annual test that millions of students take will also do away with some vocabulary words such as “prevaricator” and “sagacious” in favor of words more commonly used in school and on the job.

            College Board officials said Wednesday the update — the first since 2005 — is needed to make the exam better representative of what students study in high school and the skills they need to succeed in college and afterward. The test should offer “worthy challenges, not artificial obstacles,” said College Board President David Coleman in remarks prepared for delivery at an event in Austin, Texas.

Wow, have we gone from the envy of the world to the laughingstock.  How about a test in which there are no wrong answers?  Or nothing taken off if the person being tested makes a wrong guess?  Is this what education has come to in this country?

Let’s see if I can figure out a way to beat the test?  First, guess on all answers.  Remember there are no points off for incorrect answers and guessing on a test that is multiple choice is a cinch.  Five answers and one is correct.  Throw out the 80 percent of incorrect answers (providing there are five multiple choice answers) and the remaining 20 percent are correct.  That means I score 100 percent on the exam and become instant genius.  Wow, wonder if that works in bowling or baseball or horseshoes?  And they threw out essay questions, too.  Wonder why if you can’t get the answer wrong? Probably should have left those in too.

Is there anything wrong with this picture?  In an age when we need educated people, and highly educated ones at that, we are setting ourselves up by lowering standards every time a student whimpers about a test being too difficult.  This is a road that spirals downward, down to the bottom of the barrel.  Many third-world countries have superior education systems and are producing a better product for a good deal less money than we are wasting in our system.

A genius does not keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.  You know the story.  We want to remain the envy of the world, we need to keep striving to do better at everything we do.  Our schools need–not a shot in the arm–but perhaps in the head.  We could do worse than start over with this kind of nonsense prevailing in higher education.

My hat is off to any student who will not accept the mediocrity being thrust upon them and who strives to do the best that is within themselves.  They deserve more than this system seems willing to give them.

            Essay optional. No penalties for wrong answers. The SAT college entrance exam is undergoing sweeping revisions.

            Changes in the annual test that millions of students take will also do away with some vocabulary words such as “prevaricator” and “sagacious” in favor of words more commonly used in school and on the job.

            College Board officials said Wednesday the update — the first since 2005 — is needed to make the exam better representative of what students study in high school and the skills they need to succeed in college and afterward. The test should offer “worthy challenges, not artificial obstacles,” said College Board President David Coleman in remarks prepared for delivery at an event in Austin, Texas.

            Wow, have we gone from the envy of the world to the laughingstock.  How about a test in which there are no wrong answers?  Or nothing taken off if the person being tested makes a wrong guess?  Is this what education has come to in this country? 

            Let’s see if I can figure out a way to beat the test?  First, guess on all answers.  Remember there are no points off for incorrect answers and guessing on a test that is multiple choice is a cinch.  Five answers and one is correct.  Throw out the 80 percent of incorrect answers (providing there are five multiple choice answers) and the remaining 20 percent are correct.  That means I score 100 percent on the exam and become instant genius.  Wow, wonder if that works in bowling or baseball or horseshoes?  And they threw out essay questions, too.  Wonder why if you can’t get the answer wrong? Probably should have left those in too.   

            Is there anything wrong with this picture?  In an age when we need educated people, and highly educated ones at that, we are setting ourselves up by lowering standards every time a student whimpers about a test being too difficult.  This is a road that spirals downward, down to the bottom of the barrel.  Many third-world countries have superior education systems and are producing a better product for a good deal less money than we are wasting in our system.

            A genius does not keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.  You know the story.  We want to remain the envy of the world, we need to keep striving to do better at everything we do.  Our schools need–not a shot in the arm–but perhaps in the head.  We could do worse than start over with this kind of nonsense prevailing in higher education. 

            My hat is off to any student who will not accept the mediocrity being thrust upon them and who strives to do the best that is within themself.  They deserve more than this system seems willing to give them.

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