Posted: 14th March 2011 by EricBierker in Academics

I was the Test Supervisor, head honcho, for the SAT administration at my high school on Saturday. As stressful as it is for students to take the test, I assure you that being responsible for administering the test is fairly nerve-wracking too. I wasn’t up at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday playing my X-Box.  That is why my weekly CTG post is a bit delayed.

As stressful as it is, the big difference is that I get paid–and quite nicely, to do my part.  But, the pay is fair considering all of the work that I put into it. My goal is to make the taking of the test as smooth and efficient for students as possible. To some degree, their futures are riding on it, and they and their parents deserve a steady hand at the wheel. So, I pay a lot of attention to the administration and make it priority one the week before testing.

The history of testing in the United States was to help to identify merit, ability, and achievement among social groups traditionally restricted or barred from higher education. Far from being discriminatory or an instrument to oppress opportunity, its origins were decidedly more democratic than assumed. Now,  I think most professionals–even the College Board–think that there is too much emphasis placed on test scores. But it is what it is.

I have, with some success, helped my students grasp that avoidance and non-preparation for the test by not doing additional prep activities, is an exceedingly poor response to the SAT. Some students seem to think that the less they are mindful about the SAT’s, the better. As if the “out of sight, out of mind” approach ultimately is productive. It should be obvious that such nonchalance is a bad plan. The SAT must be investigated, explored, and ultimately attacked. Some students go into the test with very little strategy about how to make the structure of the test work for them. What seems to make it difficult are actually the very aspects that make it predictable. Such things like how long to spend on each question, how to discern the correct answers by assessing the best possible answers to the Reading section questions (most of the answers are true to some degree, one is more true than the others), and plugging the math answers into the given equations are just a few of the wise things to consider.

There is no excuse to not do some serious prep work. Starting with College Board itself is a great start.






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