The Ethics Sage Discusses the SAT Changes

The Ethics Sage
The Ethics Sage

The Ethics Sage Discusses the SAT Changes

Steven Mintz, better known as the Ethics Sage has some criticism of the changes in the SAT’s. Please read his work and go to his web site and become a follower!

James Pilant

Do Changes to the SAT Better Reflect the Skills Needed in Today’s World? – Ethics Sage

One of my concerns is the common core standards may lead to “teaching to the test” rather than engaging students in a way that challenges their analytical reasoning skills. Also, making the essay optional sends the wrong signal at a time professors like myself and recruiters bemoan the loss of writing skills in today’s college students. Even a simple memo can be a challenge too great for some graduates.

While we can change the standardization measures of an exam such as the SAT, we must consider that comparability is at risk. How do we know that a graduate who scored 1,600 – a perfect score on the exam – has learned a comparable amount of knowledge and developed similar skills as someone who scored the same and graduated before the change? Maybe this is not a big deal but I am concerned about the statement by the Board that “its college admission exams do not focus on the important academic skills.” How do cutting obscure vocabulary words and making the essay optional promote academic skills when the result of these changes will be to dumb down reading skills? Someone should tell the Board that the best way to learn how to write effectively is to read a lot, pay attention to how the author constructs her sentences and vocabulary choice, and then demonstrate what you have learned by writing essays.

via Do Changes to the SAT Better Reflect the Skills Needed in Today’s World? – Ethics Sage.

Mintz, S. (2014, March 25). [Web log message]. Retrieved from EthicsSage (Ethics Sage)

From around the web.

From the web site, Gas Station Without Pumps.

Although the College Board says that this overhaul is not prompted by their shrinking market share (ACT now sells more tests than SAT), I’m sure that is the primary driving factor.  If the College Board behaved more like a non-profit than like a corporate monopoly (smaller executive salaries, pricing for distributing scores to college that was close to actual costs rather than the price gouging that they currently engage it), I’d be more inclined to believe that this was not just a “market share” phenomenon.  Since all the changes make them look more like the ACT, it seems to be entirely profit-driven, not based on a desire to more accurately predict the success of college applicants.

Eliminating the essay should make the SAT much cheaper to grade, but I’ve not heard any announcements about them reducing the price of the exams.

Gas Station Without Pumps. (2014, March 5). Sat is changing in 2016 . Retrieved from


Beware of Greeks Bearing Standardized Tests!

006thBeware of Greeks Bearing Standardized Tests

Foundations, charities but mainly for-profit groups claim to have all the answers to “fix” education in the United States. Their principal tool is the standardized test, and not just any standardized tests, the ones they have created. It’s funny they always talk about accountability but what harm does it do to millions of students to be rated by tests that make little sense and measure only a small part of the results we expect our schools to produce?

As as society, it should be a matter of some concern that tax free foundations are the weapons of choice in the battle to replace public education with a neo-liberal set up where you get what you pay for. Essentially, the taxpayers are substituting anti-democratic initiatives across the country.

It’s bizarre that the United States is one of the pioneers in creating public schools is the nation where it seems most under attack.

James Pilant

Privatization is undoing Brown v. Board of Education –

Untaxed and Unqualified Foundations Want To “Save Our Schools”

The “starve the beast” mentality allows the privatizers to claim that our “Soviet-style” schools don’t work, and that a business approach must be used instead. Philanthropists like Bill Gates and Eli Broad and Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch and the Walton family, who have little educational experience among them, and who have little accountability to the public, are promoting “education reform” with lots of standardized testing.

But according to the National Research Council, “The tests that are typically used to measure performance in education fall short of providing a complete measure of desired educational outcomes in many ways.” Diane Ravitch notes that the test-based Common Core standards were developed by a Gates-funded organization with almost no public input. Desperate states had to adopt the standards to get funding.

Bill Gates may be well-intentioned, but he’s a tech guy, and his programming of children into educational objects is disturbing. One of his ideas is to videotape teachers and then analyze their performances. The means of choosing ‘analysts’ is unclear. Another Gates idea is the Galvanic Skin Response bracelet, which would be attached to a child to measure classroom engagement, and ultimately gauge teacher performance. It all sounds like a drug company’s test lab.

As noted by Ravitch and others, philanthropic organizations tend to contribute to “like-minded entities,” which are likely to exclude representatives of the neediest community organizations. They are also tax-exempt. And when educational experiments go wrong, they can just leave their mess behind and move on to their next project.

via Privatization is undoing Brown v. Board of Education –

From around the web.

From the web site, Cleo’s Blog.

I completely agree with the Education Bug. Standardized testing has its place in schools, but it is extremely flawed. In today’s society standardized testing greatly impacts the lives of every student and teacher in the public school system. We have created these tests to measure students intelligence, as well as the performance of teachers in the classroom. One problem with this (which must not have stood out when we decided to implement these in our schools) is that just like every student learns differently, they test differently as well.




Another problem with standardized test is that it takes away from a teacher’s freedom in the classroom to teach what they think the students should know.When a teacher steps into a classroom each morning they focus on only the things that may be on the big test at the end of the year, leaving out crucial information that may not necessarily be on the test. The curriculum of our schools are now being based around the content of the standardized tests. This not only limits teachers’ creativity and ability to share knowledge with their students, but also caps students’ learning and retention of information. Students take in the information in a way only to regurgitate it for the test and then they soon forget what they have learned. Among the many flaws of standardized testing, curriculum is only one. Governmental spending on test preparations and how great the impact these tests have on students’ educational careers are also pitfalls of the standardized tests.