As someone who has given and taken myriads of academic tests, there is a standard rule. Don’t concentrate on the topic; concentrate on the tester. Meaning that if you know how a test is graded, you can outsmart it.
Here are some examples… First , math.
There are many reasons why students equipped with all the necessary math knowledge don’t always score well on the SAT math section, but the main one is unfamiliarity with the exam. Just like any teacher, the Collegeboard employs several tricks to throw students off and reward those who have studied more and have paid closer attention to the details of the exam.
Questions that may not actually be that tough, but a scary graph or new technique will have several students saying “I’ll skip this one and come back to it later…”. If there is a very tricky or intimidating problem towards the beginning or middle, odds are that the question itself is pretty simple, but Collegeboard is attempting to frighten you away from the question.
Since often the underlying math concepts aren’t too challenging in and of themselves, Collegeboard often employs confusing / tricky language to get students to solve for the wrong variable, pick a related (but incorrect) answer choice, or miss out on a crucial piece of information…
The impulse is to start “doing math” as quickly as you can in this timed environment, but unfortunately the Collegeboard knows this and they will trick you if you don’t manage your time to thoroughly read the question and understand what is being asked.
“Use “plethora”, and “myriad” and 5 other big words.. Don’t be concerned if you are using them incorrectly.
Add a quotation in the fifth paragraph. Don’t worry if it doesn’t fit.
Fill both pages, content doesn’t matter, length does.”
Why? The readers grading these essays have to grade 30-40 test per hour. They are given one and a half to two minutes to appraise and grade your two page 5 paragraph article.
MIT did a test. They wrote the best essay ever…. Highest score, .. .. Now read it. It makes no sense.
This, my friends and fellow countrymen, is what testing is doing to our educational system….
The profit return on testing is close to 85% … The costs are minimal, some paper, some ink, some graders, and you charge $100 per test.
And let’s not even get into the part where the tests are graded wrong, AND WHEN EXPOSED ARE NOT CORRECTED.
That is why it is being force fed. If you give a school a failing grade, they will buy more tests to test themselves out of their hole…..
Education is not about student achievement anymore.