Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Want a job? Hand over your SAT results | csmonitor.com

Want a job? Hand over your SAT results | csmonitor.com

The private sector has long complained that high schools do not turn out students with critical thinking skills and the kind of cognitive abilities -- such as communication, collaboration and problem solving -- that comprise an effective workforce. Colleges and Universities echo that cry and provide remedial courses designed to scaffold students to a level of performance prerequisite to success.

Presumably, students do learn over the course of acquiring a degree. The private sector thinks so too, and doesn't recruit SAT wizards right out of high school. So it is curious indeed that a high school SAT score would be considered relevant four or more years and 120+ credit hours later. Presumably, a college graduate with four years of college math would better a high school score achieved through perhaps less than exemplary courses and teachers who in many cases may not even have majored in math.

We are all looking for that magical assessment bullet. The one that provides a real measure of a person's ablility to solve real-world problems and perform real-world work. The SAT is not that, and wasn't designed for that purpose. Indeed, it can be argued that such a test doesn't exist. To force it into that mold is, in the end, an admission of laziness and an inability or unwillingness to expend the time and effort needed to evaluate and place individual holistically based on proven ability and work product.

And then the question becomes, who really loses here?

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