0088_Analysis of a recent WSJ piece by Piereson and Riley_to have SAT be the only measure of college readiness_Bad Idea!

Donna Jack
April 13, 2016

Link to a March 30, 2016 article in the Wall Street Journal –
Here’s Why Tests Matter
by James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley

This is the first blog piece about the above-linked article that recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal.  The title of the article is:  Here’s Why Tests Matter:  The SAT is especially important. With grade inflation, report cards are basically meaningless.”

I believe this  WSJ piece unintentionally recommends a solution that will further eliminate literacy in our country.  I suspect the authors of the article are trying to come up with a way to help overcome the fact that many of the grades of students in schools don’t reflect the incompetency and illiteracy of the students.  There are a number of reasons these grades are artificially high.

One reason for this false reporting is that teacher, counselor, administration, etc.  positions and salaries are directly related to the test scores of the students  under them.  Teachers and others don’t want to fail along with their students.  Also, failing teachers means failing schools – which may mean school closures or other unpleasant consequences.

Some lies about school achievement take place to protect jobs, or to placate parents.

False reporting of grades makes it challenging to figure out which grades accurately reflect the academic knowledge of students.  These false reports help hide the fact that education is diminishing across this country.

Very sad is the fact that too many people think it is alright to lie.

These inflated grades should not be used as a reason to discard all grades.  Thankfully some people are still honest (a virtue that is neither encouraged in most national curriculum nor encouraged within most schools anymore).   Still, some students have actually earned the grades they have (whether those grades are high, average or low).

There are pressures to get high GPAs.  This is needed in order to get into colleges, to get cheap college credit, and to get scholarships (facts that some people wrongfully use to justify or encourage lying about grades).

The fact is, even without inflated grades, the content of what is taught in schools varies drastically.  Some classes are academically rigorous while others are hardly worth the time people spend in them.

One example of the difficulty in measuring what students learn:
One STEM does not equal another STEM

Colleges and Universities need to be able to know the difficulty of the classes that students take in order to understand if a student is qualified to do good college work.  But finding out this information is often hidden behind false descriptions of the class content.

One example that explains why there is a challenge in figuring out the difficulty of given classes, is the ridiculous extensive misuse of the term STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  One STEM school does not equal another STEM school.  One STEM class does not equal another STEM class.  Calling some programs or schools STEM don’t make them STEM.

Don’t believe it when something is labeled STEM.  Check it out for yourself – and get help in checking it out.

Public school STEM programs and schools usually teach Type #2 education.
That is NOT real STEM!

At school board meetings in Colorado Jefferson School District (2013-2015), the two democrats that were on the board at that time kept saying that we didn’t need additional STEM Charter schools, since parents and students already have STEM choices in the regular public schools.

That’s not a reason to refuse STEM charter schools from being established in our school district.  The term STEM is very misused in some Jefferson County Schools – and also in some charter schools.

The WSJ article says all decisions for college entrance should be based on SAT scores –
But that will not solve the grade inflation problem, or solve any problem.

The solution is not to make everyone aspire to what the SAT requires.  SAT is a very imperfect nationally-standardized test, since it is based on the same standards as Common Core.  That means it does not measure great academic accomplishments (Type #1 Education).  It measures Type #2 Education.

See this link to watch a YouTube and read a “searchable” transcript about the dumbing down of the AP, GED, SAT, ACT, etc.  You can “search” SAT in the transcript.

Take-over of our education

The Left has been working for over 150 years to take over the U.S.A., with the goal of incorporating us into their one world government.   [see Blog 0060_We Don’t Need Brains_Chapter 1_Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Gatto]

As John Gatto points out in the link above, literacy in this country stood in the way of the Left reaching their goal of world domination.  They decided long ago that they would design public schools to make people in the U.S.A. unable to read, think or communicate.  They then would be able to take over, because citizens in this country would do their bidding.  They would have to obey, because they would not be able to think of reasons to do otherwise.

Wall Street Journal Article – recommends elimination of GPAs
in deciding if a student can do well in college.

The WSJ article “Here’s Why Tests Matter” recommends GPAs be ignored because they are inflated.  They recommend the SAT score decide if a student should be admitted into colleges and universities.  The SAT would then become the method to “grade” students.

Claims are that we now have a new and improved SAT,
with more “contemporary vocabulary.”

In the first paragraph of the WSJ article, it says we now have a new and improved SAT.  The new and improved SAT contains “more contemporary vocabulary.”  Does that mean that the language has been simplified — because a shocking growing percentage of  students in the U.S.A. are unable to read beyond a 2nd or 3rd grade level?

“Guessing” encouraged.

Also the SAT no longer penalizes test-takers for guessing at the wrong answer.  How is that change going to measure more accurately what a students knows?  Students will now be encouraged to guess and play-the-odds, with no penalty.  Rather than give what they believe is the right answer based on their knowledge, and skip what they don’t know — students can now just guess the answer for every question.

Guesses don’t reflect knowledge.

How do these two “improvements” in the SAT help colleges measure if a student has any education?

Word problems in math are “unfair” for disadvantaged (illiterate) children.

Still in the first paragraph, complaints are mentioned.  The first complaint is that word problems in math sections are “unfair” for those disadvantaged children (children who can’t read?).  How kind is it to dumb down the test and hide the actual truth about literacy?   How does that allow the more competent students to stick out, so they can get credit and be chosen for college entrance based on their academics?

REAL SOLUTION – teach students to read — to really read!

Why don’t our public schools across the nation teach our students how to read?   It appears that public school is not designed to teach students to read, or write, or compute, or think….

Why not get rid of assessments/surveys/interrogations, etc.

The article claims parents ask:   why so many tests, and why do colleges place so much stock in these tests?  Note:  Every gathering of information from students is called a “test” or “assessment” or “survey.”  Schools are pushing interrogation/snooping/and reporting on each other.  Remember that informing was and is prevalent in communist dictatorships like Russia, China, Germany under Hitler, Cuba, etc.

The protest about too many tests is legitimate!  Almost all schools have become assessment/test factories, reporting every day on every aspect of students, their family, friends, acquaintances, teachers, etc.  This is not only seriously wrong from the standpoint of eliminating any privacy, and training people to inform on each other, but it eliminates time to get a great education in these schools.  Even if there is any good content in curriculum, there is no time to teach it.

This information gathering (snooping) must stop.

Using SAT as the deciding factor in college entrance —
is centralized control.

Using the SAT as the final grader of students further establishes nationally-controlled learning in the U.S.A.  The body of knowledge becomes limited to Common Core/SAT content.  And the content of the SAT is decided and controlled by one person or group of people.

Why not have an alternative to the SAT–a Type #1 education test
that measures Type #1 academics?
Have the alternative be just one of ways colleges and universities accept students.

[see: Competition for the Common-Core-based ACT and SATs_looking for people to beta-test it

Schools focus too much on  nationally-dictated outcomes, without giving students tools to help themselves learn wisdom and skills from the past; how to learn independently; how to research; how to learn from the mistakes and successes of people in the past and present;  to experience for themselves failures and successes; to learn how to think for themselves; and to learn how to make their own decisions for their own lives, based on knowledge from others and their own inquiry and conclusions.

Centralization of education crushes any disagreement with the prescribed education.  It steals freedom of thought and speech, and kills any excitement for learning.

Rather than focusing on outcomes, schools should focus on equipping students with knowledge and skills to eventually be able to choose opportunities for themselves.

I challenge most statements and conclusions in the article linked.  The first paragraph has been the focus of this blog piece.

Nationally centralizing all power to decide how to measure students through the SAT (the conclusion of this WSJ article) only speeds up the dumbing down of America.  It gives more power to people who intend to eliminate our individuality, and who intend to take our country away from us.

Once again:  THE SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEMS OF ILLITERACY . . .

There is no excuse in this country for people to be unable to read and write.  Teach children and adults how to read and write.  It can be taught in a few months, or less. But not with the methods used in the public schools.  See the following post:

0014_Making American Illiterate: A Key Factor in the Deliberate Dumbing Down of America_YouTube with Samuel Blumefeld

The solution to our problems of illiteracy is not to be found in a federally standardized test to measure students.  STOP MEASURING STUDENTS AD NAUSEA, and teach them to read.

Change what is being taught in the schools so they can become literate.  If a person learns how to read, they can teach themselves just about anything.

Eliminate Type #2 education, and replace it with Type #1 education, which stresses reading, writing, spelling, cursive, computing, analytical thinking, etc.  You can also read about Type #1 and Type #2 Education on the Home Page of this website.

Since the 1960s, I have made extensive observations through reading, listening and personal experience .  My conclusion:  it appears to me that Type #1 education has been eliminated from our schools, and it appears it was intentionally removed.  There are some exceptions in a few pockets within public schooling (including some charter schools — charter schools are public schools); in some private and religious schools; and in a large percentage of home schools.

Bring back Type #1 education.

Study to become familiar with the difference between Type #1 and Type #2 education.  Understanding this is an important key to understanding why the quality of education in our country has been plummeting for a very long time.

If you learn the difference between these two approaches, you will be better equipped to avoid bunny trails, so you can fight for better education in our country.

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