Wednesday, February 08, 2006

it used to stand for "scholastic aptitude test," but now it just stands for what they've done for four hours by the end of it

I was crazy productive today. I got a whole SAT curriculum piece (long passage) done and a short passage for GRE done, from scratch. Amazing.

Of course, then ETS announced that it's holding off on its big GRE revamp for an extra year, so of course Kaplan is putting its own revamp on hold.

There's still plenty of SAT work, at least. Plus I have two SAT classes this season.

Which is kind of interesting in itself. I got the diagnostic scores back today, Not only are they all over the place; even the kids whom I've been able to determine are sharp as tacks scored poorly.

Of course, it's not surprising; rather, it only serves to support my contention (not an original one) that standardized testing is kind of a balls-out crapshoot of an exercise, and it doesn't work. However, it is a little daunting, just given the amazing point spread in my classes. For example, in one class, I have a student who scored a 280 on Writing, and another student who scored a 670 on the same section. Zowie. A 400-point gap on one section in one classroom? Fun stuff!

One of the reasons I enjoy writing curriculum is that I work with these kids every week, and I know what they're going through. It'd be nice if they had any concept of what we teachers go through, but one can only dream so big.


LizzieDaisy said...

Hey, you know my son is an 8th grader. Any ideas on how to prepare for these? I figured I'd send him to a class at my old private school, but what else? I could use some good ideas. He isn't thinking Harvard or anything, but the higher he can make his score, the better shot he has at any scholarships out there.

Leigh said...

Well, you know, it is what I do for a living -- prepping kids for these tests. 8th is too early to start, though, believe me. There is too much material that they haven't covered yet at that point, and trying to cram it in via a prep class just gets them all confused. Plus, ETS is discussing many more changes, so if you start him now, he might be prepping for a different test than what he'll end up taking.

When he's in 10th, I would buy him a retail book and have him take a practice test, and see where he scores. At that point, you can assess -- I'm guessing with your and Pat's genes, he might just want to do a couple brush-up sessions with a tutor or in a class, but he'll already be in better shape than 80% of his competition. :)

And of course I'll be happy to help you out at that point, even long-distance. Advice comes free!