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Was SAT Prep what these kids really needed?

February 10, 2011 pm28 6:54 pm
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Over at Gotham Schools Brendan Lowe begins telling his story of doing SAT preparation with students at a school with historically very low SAT scores (700 combined).

The decision to go all-out on SAT prep was not easy — on average, our 11th-graders read two to three years below grade level, I considered whether their time (and our program’s money) would be better spent focusing on remedial skills than learning test-taking strategies and far-flung vocabulary words.

And I wonder, even if hard vocabulary was the right thing to teach, did it need to be done through the lens of test prep. Why would kids clearly in need of so much more instead devote precious hours to test prep?  Does the SAT stop some of them from attending college? (it’s a real question. If the SAT were THE obstacle, that would be different). Would some of these kids attend colleges that do not look for SAT scores?

I just wonder, kids for whom the whole test culture is most destructive are often those at the top who never stop testing, and those at the bottom who get pushed through test after test after test to show the world what exactly? That they are willing to sit and suffer? That their schools are not doing well?


3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2011 am28 3:48 am 3:48 am

    JD>>>well stated… I teach a world away from Lowe’s situation (physically and metaphorically) but the “teach for the test” is here too. Our kids score above the national average across the board on tests, and we give bunches of them. An yetI sit in school improvement meetings focused on testing and witness such abuses of good statistical practice regarding test scores that I want to scream… Why hasn’t thirty years of exposure to it numbed me to the pain?

  2. March 12, 2011 am31 12:18 am 12:18 am

    His results are in, and almost any other use of time would have been more productive.


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