Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why ?

Can someone explain to me why the SAT is advertising on Facebook?

I'm really confused. Going to college - you know about the test. Live in a family that pays half an ounce of attention to the world around it - you know about the test. Attend high school - you know about the test. Have older siblings - you know about the test. You really don't need to be reminded.

"The one, the only - the SAT". As if it were a fancy car - the Ferrari of tests - something to which everyone would aspire. It's cool. It's hip. It's your friend - "There are scarier things than the SAT - like having your Mom chaperone the prom" . And it's physically attractive. At least the ad is.

So, I'm 15 and I'm hooked. Forget the ACT. I'll sign up. I promise.

Is ETS using high school kids to pressure colleges to retain the test as an admissions tool? After all, if you've paid to take the thing, and studied for it, and stayed up nights worrying about it, you're going to send your scores whether the school demands them or not. And if they show up in the Admissions Office you know they'll be looked at, and that's a hard bell to un-ring.

Standardizing anything is difficult, and trying to quantify the thinking of high school students is impossible by definition. Test taking skills, access to tutoring, having the flu on test day - there are lots of reasons you're smarter than your score. Or dumber, for that matter. But as one piece of the complex puzzle that is a college applicant, it has its place.

I just don't know why they're advertising.

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