Get rid of the S.A.T. test?June 2 2012 at 2:43 PM
|Dustin Faulkner (Login faulknerdustin)|
from IP address 220.127.116.11
For those of you who are American Hyperscalers (and maybe other countries too), I noticed an opinion article asserting we should get rid of the S.A.T. college entrance exam. I tend to agree.
My experience with that exam began my cynicism about the educational system (and I'm the son of a teacher). I graduated in the top quarter of my class, took some honors classes, and made it a point to take chemistry and physics too before going to college. I had dreams of being a fighter pilot then and wanted to ensure I had a strong background for flight school. I was already reading my Dad's old copy of "Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators" too. I was an A and B student during my last two years of high school.
The SAT was a dose of unnecessary stress at the time, and I remember one Barron's SAT tutorial's geometry question having two possible solutions. There was theirs and there was mine which my aerospace engineer father said was correct. Geometry was my strongest math subject.
I don't know why (and I'm embarrased to share this), but I took the SAT three times before finally getting a 1065. My peers were typically getting 1200-1400 scores. Go figure. Considering I often made higher test grades than many of them, I am convinced the SAT only shows you know how to take tests well. It does not show your true potential. In retrospect, it seems like college can be summarized as taking one test after another - no time to really learn and comprehend a topic. At least not in engineering courses.
It seems wrong that so much of one's initial future is made to depend on a number, only to end up going to universities where most professors don't teach worth a darn. In a sense, I learned more in high school and can honestly say I had better teachers than in college.
Something is wrong with the one-size-fits-all production line process that trains kids to think one way for twelve impressionable years, and then colleges expect you to suddenly approach everything differently to seemingly accomodate the professors. If my high school teachers "taught" the way college professors do, there'd be protests by parents at every school board meeting. I do recall one math/computers teacher who drove us nuts (even honor students) by taking a professorial approach. One guy who was a very good honors student (and later became an Air Force officer) piped-up in class one day saying "how are we supposed to learn this stuff if you don't teach it!?" She eventually got her Ph.D. in math and is now "teaching" at a local university. I always thought there was an interesting point there.
I can say I learned more about basic physics in high school than I did in college. Every engineering student must take a course called "Statics." At one college I had a professor who "lectured" and I got an "F". I transfered to another college, took statics again (not having learned much the first time), I had a professor who actually taught the course, and I got an "A."
College is overpriced and overmarketed, and many textbooks are poorly written/edited. There shouldn't be a stygma imposed upon a kid who wants to be an A&P, machinist, or a plumber. Those are cool trades. An uncle of mine became a machinist for Pratt & Whitney after high school. I would have loved that. However, that is not what gets "marketed" these days. It is interesting how professors are not required to take teaching courses - just have an advanced degree and that supposedly qualifies you to "teach."
Well ... I got off on a tangent there. I apologize. My overall point is far too much is placed upon a number you get on the SAT test. That doesn't show the whole picture about a student. You cannot quantify one's determination, enthusiasm, motivation, and passion for a subject.
I for one received praise for being a natural "stick", surprised folks on at least two occasions when they learned I did not have a flying license, correctly discussed tactics at a fighter pilots' debriefing once, and I knew I would have been a good pilot. The SAT does not test such things.
Unfortunately for me, it seems, one must have a degree to be an officer. One must be an officer to be a pilot. There's something artifical about this, how one's innate ability for a vocation is not measured, and a kid gets encouraged accordingly.
I must take a rare moment to exercise a pilot's ego and say the military missed-out on a good pilot in me. But you'd never know it just looking at my SAT score and grades in college. My Dad flew F-4s before getting a degree.
I concede one must attend college in order to enter many professions. However, there is this nagging sense that the university system has succeeded in fulfilling its own business interests at a great cost to society. We should bring apprenticeship programs back. Honestly ... a lot of the work I did as a new engineering graduate is stuff I could have learned while I was still in high school. You don't need a degree to use a CAD system or learn to design tooling.
I once designed a tooling fixture for the F-22's main gear strut. I found myself often refering to things I learned in shop class more than any college course, and talking to the machinists to get their input. I succeeded in drawing a blueprint, but you'd never guess I could have done that looking at my SAT score.
Now that I think about it, I should probably go talk to a therapist because so much of my identity was imposed upon me by my SAT score! (sarcasm)
- maybe "sarcasm" but in all honesty I think that................ - Leonard LaRoux on Jun 2, 2012, 3:52 PM
- Let. It. Go. - Steve Jungwirth on Jun 2, 2012, 5:11 PM
- 800 math, 240 on the rest for 1040 total - Kurt on Jun 2, 2012, 5:20 PM
- what truly defines a person? - Jim Mc on Jun 2, 2012, 5:26 PM
- would you rather go back to each individual institution relying upon an entrance exam? - 34Drive on Jun 2, 2012, 6:25 PM
- Some excellent colleges no longer require the SATs (or ACTs) - Charles Metz on Jun 2, 2012, 6:43 PM
- A rational rationale? "Equally unfair" - G.R.Morrison on Jun 2, 2012, 7:06 PM
- Sure. Scrub the SAT/ACT. Just jump straight to the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, - Mark Hoffman on Jun 2, 2012, 9:20 PM
- Seems to me the problem isn't the SAT, - Ross McArthur on Jun 2, 2012, 11:15 PM
- What difference does it make? - Ed Keene on Jun 2, 2012, 11:43 PM