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  #31 (permalink)  
Old September 16th, 2011, 06:15 PM
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The saddest part of SATs is that they have very little in reality to do with whether or not a student will be successful in college and the real world. Many of the finest college graduates did not have high SAT or ACT scores. Hmmmmmm????
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This just in. . .

Scores on the latest verbal SAT tests are the lowest in history.

Math scores? Lowest since the mid-90s.

The "good news" according to some: more people took the test than ever.

So we are to conclude what?. . .that the scores were brought down because a lot more unqualified people took the test?

Veteran teachers I know tell me that the answer is simple: high school curricula have been dumbed down to an alarming degree, so that huge swaths of kids are not prepared for college, even if they do "well" in high school and aspire to higher education. They have been led down the yellow brick road of simplistic curricula, coddling, inadequate time in class, and low expectations on the part of both parents and teachers.

There was a rerun of a Saturday Night Live show this past weekend. During the Weekend Update fake news segment, this item. . .

"On Wednesday at noon, school children all over the country simultaneously sang a song of togetherness and friendship. Meanwhile in China, two million school children were doing math."

Indeed.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old September 17th, 2011, 11:17 AM
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Exclamation Notes to Norm

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But it's actually the respective state's Department of Education, presumably staffed by people with some competence, that have produced the actual curricula and the state-wide standard tests.
Well, millions of teachers, administrators and School Board members might tend to wonder about the competence of State Department of Education employees. The point I was making is that the DEFINITION of what constitutes a solid basic education is being made by the Legislature, testing as the METHOD of determining capability is being defined by the Legislature, and the application of that method is being defined by the Legislature. THEN the Department of Education gets to run with the Legislature's ball.

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Having said that, I would actually say that our federal constitution actually grants the responsibility to establish uniform standards for education to our federal government. Thus, the responsibility to establish and administer standard tests of academic achievement rightfully should rest with the National Bureau of Standards.

Norm.
Interesting interpretation. Want to cite the applicable sections?
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old September 17th, 2011, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuck Palm View Post
The saddest part of SATs is that they have very little in reality to do with whether or not a student will be successful in college and the real world. Many of the finest college graduates did not have high SAT or ACT scores. Hmmmmmm????
The predictive ability of any statistical measurement has two components: Reliability, meaning whether a repeat measurement will give a similar result; and validity, meaning how well it measures what it is intended to measure.

The primary goal of the SAT is to predict academic achievement in a classic college environment. Many studies have shown that the combination most selective colleges use, test scores combined with high school grades, is an extremely reliable and valid measurement and does indeed have a very high predictive ability. Statistically, a large group of students with high GPAs and high SATs will do significantly better in college than a large group of students with lower GPAs and lower SATs.

Remember that we are dealing with a statistical universe. SOME students in each group will not perform as predicted. Students with high scores can totally bomb out in college. And as you stated, SOME (probably not "many") high achieving students have lower scores. But OVERALL, taken as a statistical group, the high scoring students will do better in college. That is what the SAT is all about, statistics not individuals. That rankles our American idea of individualism, but it is a very reliable, valid and workable method of dealing with very large numbers of college applicants.
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old September 19th, 2011, 08:31 PM
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Mike:

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Well, millions of teachers, administrators and School Board members might tend to wonder about the competence of State Department of Education employees. The point I was making is that the DEFINITION of what constitutes a solid basic education is being made by the Legislature, testing as the METHOD of determining capability is being defined by the Legislature, and the application of that method is being defined by the Legislature. THEN the Department of Education gets to run with the Legislature's ball.
Or the Department of Education can go back to the legislature and present an alternative approach.

Most legislatures take reasonable suggestions from the professionals in the executive branch very seriously. It may take some time, but those suggestions usually become law, once properly vetted.

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Interesting interpretation. Want to cite the applicable sections?
Several clauses would justify federal uniform standards in education. Perhaps the most obvious are (1) the Interstate Commerce clause of Art. I Sect. 8, noting that hiring now often occurs across state lines, and (2) the Full Faith clause of Art. IV Sect. 1. In the case of the latter, you cannot expect a state to give "full faith and effect" to a high school diploma accredited by another state without some assurance that the diploma attests to achievement of the academic standard that it purports to represent.

Norm.
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Old September 20th, 2011, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuck Palm View Post
The saddest part of SATs is that they have very little in reality to do with whether or not a student will be successful in college and the real world. Many of the finest college graduates did not have high SAT or ACT scores. Hmmmmmm????
I'm sure you're correct that "many" (whatever that means) college graduates have low test scores. But, like Henry, you seem to be using anecdotal exceptions to discredit the tests. If you have any evidence that the testing process overall has "very little in reality" to do with success in higher education, I wish you'd tell us about it. Colleges and universities nationwide would be fascinated to hear any credible data to that effect.

To hear some of you expound on this issue, you'd think that the people who sell these tests have some sort of nefarious power over colleges that forces them to require the tests and factor the results into their admission decisions. The only thing, in fact, the SAT and ACT people have to sell is results: they have to continually prove to colleges that the tests have enough predictive value to make them worthwhile. Do you have evidence to the contrary? Hmmmmmmmm?
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old September 20th, 2011, 10:48 AM
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All of the anecdotal exceptions to the rule don't just fail to disprove the rule; they also confuse correlation with causation. How well one does on SATs does GENERALLY indicate how much knowledge one has acquired during school years, whether in school or elsewhere. But how well one performs in college is affected not only by that body of knowledge, but by how well one is able to apply himself to it. A student who has to work to support himself while in school, or one who is deeply involved in extra-curricular activities or partying, or who has some sort of family upheaval, is not going to do as well as his test scores might have predicted.

So everyone's right: test scores are valuable in the aggregate, and meaningless in the particular.

By the way, Sunday's paper reported that SAT's in New Hampshire, where about 78% of students take SATs, were up a point or two in all three categories reported: math, English, and critical thinking. I'd be pleased except that I think we're floating on top of a receding tide. When I was in high school the rule was that a student would need
500's to get into college, 600's to get into a GOOD college, and 700's to get into a SELECTIVE college. Since then the test has been "dumbed down" and yet 550 is considered great.
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Old September 20th, 2011, 11:10 AM
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Question Constitution

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Originally Posted by Rev22:17 View Post

Several clauses would justify federal uniform standards in education. Perhaps the most obvious are (1) the Interstate Commerce clause of Art. I Sect. 8, noting that hiring now often occurs across state lines, and (2) the Full Faith clause of Art. IV Sect. 1. In the case of the latter, you cannot expect a state to give "full faith and effect" to a high school diploma accredited by another state without some assurance that the diploma attests to achievement of the academic standard that it purports to represent.

Norm.
Interesting. It seems to me that, as Huckleberry Finn would say, there are some "stretchers" in there!

In fact, of course, with such things as "No Child Left Behind", the government just twitches the carrot of federal funds and thereby avoids those touchy little Constitutional issues. Clearly, if you are paying for something, then you get to make the rules, no Constitutional grounds needed.
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