Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Liberty and SATs for All


Whoa, buddy! Stop the presses on the revised SAT test! 

Those folks at the U. S.College Board are trying to pull a fast one on the fine students of American colleges and universities. Let me rephrase that: they are being accused of pulling a fast one on the fine Chinese students who attend American colleges and universities. That is what China's official New China News Agency said when they heard the SAT revisions will include some of the U.S. founding documents. Those changes may appear as soon as Spring of 2016.

"Including content from America's founding documents in a revised U.S. college entry exam has drawn attention in China, with worries the materials may impose the American values system on students," the agency said. 


Wow. The New China News Agency sounds like Old China to me. Holy Mao Zedong, Batman.

I have a difference of opinion on a lot of issues with other countries, but when I visit them I know that they are indeed a foreign country and I'm just passing through graciously. Granted, attending college might be a little more intimate, but I still wouldn't expect them to change the entire culture of the country for me. If I were that worried about being tainted by a foreign country's ideas or culture, I'd stay home. It's the basis for my decision to stay away from Iraq, for example; it's not on my vacation list at all.

Slowly, I feel myself turning into my "love it or leave it" patriot father, God rest his soul, who would have advised the students to study in their own homeland if they didn't like this one. I didn't see that one coming. Well played, DNA; well played.

Back to the subject at hand, let's say the designers of the test cave and modify to appease the foreign student from China. If we include "The Selected Works of Mao Zedong" as part of the test, is that fair to American students who would be impacted by Chinese value systems - and are going to school in America? I'd like to think that the American student would read a passage about Mao Zedong, answer the question tied to that passage, and go on with the test. I doubt they would give it another thought.

Sounds like "someone" is afraid that "a certain group of students," bright and intelligent, would read about America and think "hey...that makes sense." The world just can't have young people walking around making decisions about their future like that, is that the deal?  

This thing has inspired me to ask the test designers to make a whole section entitled: "WHAT IS SO FREAKING AWESOME ABOUT AMERICA." Hey, we're complainers, but we live here. There's a whole lot of awesome in the good ole' USA.

But that leads to another issue: if they are going to modify it for the Chinese students, what about the other countries? This is a bad precedent if favor one group over another, right?

Even more importantly, what about the American students that think math and science is from a totally different planet; they don't speak the language? Don't they have rights? Can we modify the SAT for them?  How about a few hints that they can review before they answer?

Suggested modifications for Algebra and Chemistry for the non-proficient students:

Question:  
x + 4 = 12.  Solve for x. 
Hints for Algebraphobics.  
a)  Think about it. You add 4 to this number and it equals 12.
b)  It's a number that comes right after 7, but it's not 9, 10 or 11.
c)  If you tap your foot 5 times in a row, the proctor will turn their back to you and you can look at that guy's paper to the right of you. You're sitting between two Chinese students. Don't blow it.
d)  Just put the number 8 as the answer. Don't question this logic and move on.

Question:
True or False: Group 1A on the Periodic Table of Elements contains the Alkali Metals. 
Hints for Chemistryaphobic students:
a)  The answer rhymes with "flu."
b)  It's not the answer than rhymes with "balse." Balse is not a word, by the way. Don't write it down. We repeat: don't write it down.
c)  Are you still sitting by the Chinese kid? Cover your eyes like you have a headache and look to your right. Hurry. That kid is not lingering on this question; he'll be flipping the sheet over soon.
d)  False just sounds so negative. I'm just saying. You don't want to start college with negativity. 

There's no easy answer. Oh, wait - there is! You have a test that is required for college admission and you provide an empty chair to anyone on the planet and invite them to make the effort to pass the test. Enroll students who have adequate scores and who truly wants to participate in the American educational system. 

Anythng else would be...well...un-American.


14 comments:

  1. I'm SO glad I went to college before they had SAT's!!

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    1. I took SATs and ACTs and then found out I had to take something totally different for nursing school, lol.

      Your joke about the medical student "taking physics" would work here, too.

      Delete
  2. I think I have the answer to the algebra question: $1, 739.86.
    I'm not sure about the chemistry. I recall something about halogens: chlorine, fluorine, bromine, iodine. Do those have anything to do with alkali metals? Do any of them rhyme with flu? Is it goo? Is goo the answer? It might be an alkali halogen.
    If students from China or wherever want to attend school in the U.S., then I say put up or shut up. I'm not sure what that means. Does the SAT still have the essay or did they drop it in frustration over marking them? The Hurricane took the SATs the last year before they added the essay. Let's just say her nickname was 1590 for quite some time.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. The only chemistry that matters...
      is the chemistry between you and me, baby - YEAH!

      Goo is always the answer, baby - YEAH!

      "1590" is my middle name, baby - YEAH!
      That's the year from which I derived my attitudes toward women.

      Delete
    2. Hey, you two - this conversation has gone full on Austin Powers! YEAH!

      Delete
  3. Hello, dear Cherdo!

    I agree there is no easy answer...
    but there is a right answer and a Wong answer.

    (BA-DUM-BUMP)

    You wrote:

    << Balse is not a word, by the way. >>

    Sorry to correct you, but balse IS a word.
    I just don't have the balse to tell you what it means.

    (BA-DUM-BUMP)

    I found myself nodding in agreement as I read the opinions you expressed in this post (and not just because I'm a shallow, parasitic sycophant who sucks up to everybody regardless of whether I agree with their position). America itself is a melting pot, making it hard to construct an SAT or write a textbook that fairly represents its diversity and doesn't impose the values of one group on the others. I agree that if I'm going to school in a foreign land, it's an opportunity for me to soak up that culture and its values and draw my own conclusions about them.

    I hope you're feeling 100% today, dear friend Cherdo. Take care of yourself and I'll chat with you again tomorrow. By the way, you'll be happy to know that I have been accepted (Brownie level) into Girl Scouts USA. Our first meeting is tonight!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lordy, you make me laugh. And I did it again - put the comment in the wrong place. A psychiatrist could probably explain it, but who wants to open that can o' worms?

      The Girl Scouts will be enriched by your presence, but on a totally shallow and vain note - won't you be just darling in the brownie beanie? Or have they done away with the one thing that made being a Brownie so rewarding?

      I was a Girl Scout from the minute you could join till the end of the road; I even got First Class (the equivalent of Eagle Scout, though I think they call it something different now).

      Living in a house surrounded by fields of hay, cattle and wildlife will do a number on allergies. I'll probably find out I'm allergic to cows, since I've been hanging around at the fence line scratching their heads. I'm back on track, though.

      Have a great day!

      Delete
    2. You might be allergic to my bull! :)

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Replies
    1. I can't, Cherdo. I can't and I WON'T!

      Delete
    2. What did Cherdo write and then delete? I must know. Pickleope Von Pickleope said in a comment on my blog that you will receive a Pickleope visit, as will fishducky. Pickleope can be an acquired taste.

      Delete
    3. Janie, I forget to post things as a reply to a post...I start a new post, realize my stupidity, and re-do it. And I've done it like six times...arrrrgggghhhh.

      Delete
    4. I do that all the time, but sometimes Blogger MAKES me do it.

      Delete

Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo