4/12/2005

Genious or Pure Obsession?

USA Today reported about the changes to the SAT test and gave the results of the first 300,000 students to challenge this high-stress, high-priority exam on March 12. This week, as students began receiving their scores back, the College Board reported that 107 scored a perfect 2400; 800 points in each of the three sections-writing, critical reading and math. The writing section was added this year in addition to the two old sections.

It seems like as time goes on, more and more students are scoring very high scores on the SAT. Is it just because students are getting smarter, or are they just obsessing about it much more than past students? There are so many "SAT prep books" and "pre-tests" and techniques on how to be successful on this exam, it is almost becoming a joke. ACT tests are following on this same line. Students spend hours and hours preparing and studying and strategizing for this huge exam. So where does it become a joke? How far are our students going to go to gain a "perfect score"? Or are we just smart?

6 comments:

Marie said...

I think that is very true Fred. I think that student may prepare themselves for the ACT or SAT more then previous years, because it is more accessible to find helpful ways to succeed on the exam. I also think that students also see the benefits it offers when scoring well, so they are willing to put the time into it.

ron said...

I think it is alot like the four minute mile. for years people thought it impossible to run a four minute mile until in 1954 Roger Bannister did it. since then they 4 minute mile has been accomplished by thousands of people. Perfect scores will be accomplished freaquently because the blinders are off.

Rex said...

With all of the information that is at our fingertips, why wouldn’t it be put to use on these types of tests? With the fierce competition that is required to get into most Ivy League Universities, some students are feeling the pressures to acquire the perfect score.

Keston said...

I agree with Rex, why shouldn't these students be working towards a perfect score? I think it proves that our society is becoming smarter, and becoming harder workers. This is encouraging for the future to know smarter people will be around.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Ron's comment for punctuation errors.

I think this reflects increased studying and the increased inequality in incomes in this country. This is a signal to excel.

Speaking as someone who did get an 800 (on one section) I can attest to there being much more interest in attaining perfection on the exam. In 1980 when I took it, an 800 was regarded as an extremely good grade with a fair amount of luck added in (to make just the right guesses). Today it is regarded as something achievable with practice.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Fred's post for spelling errors.