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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 11, 2014 / 9 Adar II, 5774

Dumbing down the SAT

By Rich Lowry




JewishWorldReview.com | It turns out that SAT words were too abstruse.

The College Board is updating its iconic test yet again in ways that are indistinguishable from dumbing it down. The old vocabulary words are out, the math is easier, guessing is no longer punished in the scoring -- and we're supposed to believe that the test is better than ever.

The SAT, relied on heavily in college admissions, has long been attacked for not producing sufficiently egalitarian results. The multiple-choice test has been accused of everything from racism to classism. It is almost certainly the most hated exam in America, and the easiest way to placate the critics is simply to make it less exacting.

The last round of changes 10 years ago eliminated the analogies (e.g., zenith: nadir::pinnacle: valley) and instituted an essay. This was supposed to be an upgrade, but the mandatory essay is now being discarded. Peter Wood of the National Association of Scholars describes it as "a decade-long experiment in awarding points for sloppy writing graded by mindless formulae."

The new SAT will move away from what a reporter in The New York Times calls -- obviously relying on his readers' knowledge of old SAT vocabulary -- "esoteric" words. Instead, the test will emphasize "evidence-based reading." The head of the College Board says an example would be an excerpt from an old speech by Rep. Barbara Jordan in which she said that the impeachment of Richard Nixon would divide people into two parties. Students taking the test would then have several choices for what Jordan meant by the word "party." (Students answering a gathering to celebrate an occasion, or to drink with friends, will presumably get no credit.)



The SAT is called an instrument of privilege because students from higher-income families perform better. But parental educational attainment tracks with parental income, and highly educated parents will inevitably pass along their advantages to their kids. It is not in the power of the SAT to change this. As Robert VerBruggen of the website RealClearPolicy writes, "Income gaps are evident on basically every academic measure we have."

The changes and a partnership with the free online Khan Academy are supposed to frustrate the test-prep industry, which is taken to be another unfair advantage for rich kids. There are two fallacies here, though. The first is that test-prep makes an enormous difference in scores. It bumps them up by about 30 points on average. The second is that minority kids get no test prep. According to research cited by Inside Higher Ed, slightly higher percentages of black and Hispanic students than white students use test prep, and they make slightly higher gains on their scores on average.

The SAT is hardly perfect. It isn't strictly an aptitude test: The more you read and the more math you know, the better you are going to do. Maybe we should go all the way and use achievement tests instead? But that has its own problems, as Howard Wainer of the University of Pennsylvania pointed out in his book "Uneducated Guesses." How much does proficiency in one subject area weigh against another? And this doesn't help if a student is in a rotten school that teaches nothing.

The SAT aims to predict first-year performance in college, with only modest success. The test explains about 24 percent of the variation in performance during the first year of college, while high-school GPA explains 34 percent, according to Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown University. But when the two are combined, they account for 41 percent of the variation. With its broader, more general approach, the SAT provides different information about students than either GPA or achievement tests. It is a useful tool.

At the end of the day, the problem isn't the SAT, it's ourselves. We have to do a better job raising and educating kids. That is much harder than complaining about the SAT, and the College Board can't do them for us.

Rich Lowry Archives

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© 2014 King Features Syndicate

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