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[BKARTS] WOID #XII-25. Teaching to the test

My friend Kate Gladstone is quoted this morning in the New York Times,
in an article about the Next Revival of Handwriting Again. It turns
out the SATs now include an essay question, and various schools are
scrambling to get their students to write legibly - let alone cogently.

Same old same old. It turns out there's something called Script
(good!) and something called Print (bad!), and script is better
because it's faster, so you can write more on your essay question -
forget about better. That there might be a continuum between print and
script is off the table; same for the idea that the real task of
preparing for the SAT might be to give students a wider, not a
narrower range of writerly techniques, let alone intellectual skills.
For some odd unexplained reason students have a tendency to cramp up
during tests, and this includes their handwriting as much as their
thinking processes.

Then again, that would mean teaching students to prepare for the test,
not by meeting its expectations but by surpassing their own.
Surpassing expectations - internalizing your own goals - is the last
thing in the world you'll find taught in your average American high
school. A Shame.

Paul T Werner, New York

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