kitchen table math, the sequel: question: what is the opposite of fuzzy?

Monday, June 21, 2010

question: what is the opposite of fuzzy?

answer: SAT math

54 questions, 70 minutes, many working parts

no time to 'think'

no time for 'many ways to solve it'

to score well on the SAT, you need to use the fastest method, and you need to know what the fastest method is about 5 seconds after you start reading the problem

if not sooner

22 comments:

Catherine Johnson said...

I really can't stress this point strongly enough.

SAT Math is the opposite of everything kids are being taught.

Catherine Johnson said...

msmi2010 is also the opposite of everything the kids are being taught, & the experience of 6-hour msmi classes punctuated by the occasional SAT-prep break brought my horror of Trailblazers math to a whole new level.

Katharine Beals said...

"SAT Math is the opposite of everything kids are being taught."

Given this, how long until the SAT is radically overhauled to reflect how kids are being taught ("taught")?

Allison said...

Unlikely--College Board is essentially a private certification mechanism, much like AMA and ALA exams are. American engineering and science schools need that information, and if College Board gives that up to another competitor, someone will still be making money providing that level of certification.

It's easier for schools to abandon the SAT as a requirement than to undermine the SAT math test--and they've already done that.

Catherine Johnson said...

We have to talk about why the SAT math test is so much harder than it was.

Ed was speculating that it had to do with the tutoring industry, but Karl Bunday, at the msmi2010 course, said it's probably Asian kids raising the curve.

I'm sure he's right.

I've got some SAT data to post on this subject.

Independent George said...

Unlikely--College Board is essentially a private certification mechanism, much like AMA and ALA exams are. American engineering and science schools need that information, and if College Board gives that up to another competitor, someone will still be making money providing that level of certification.

But the SAT has already been changed over the years, and not in ways that make it better. The writing exam, for example, which I view as an abomination.

Allison said...

Different kettle of fish.

The liberal arts colleges *don't* need that information, since they give degrees in gender/race/class/inequity studies anyway. They don't teach rhetoric anymore, and their professors and phds don't recognize excellent writing. They aren't looking for better vocabulary or textual analysis, because crit theory doesn't demand that.

Catherine Johnson said...

Ed talked to a woman who tutored SATs for Princeton Review. She told him the writing exam is the exact same exam they always gave for SAT II Composition.

It's not a new test.

(That's not to say it's a good test, just that it's the same test they always gave grafted onto the SAT I.)

VickyS said...

Speaking of the writing exam, excuse me while I gag on what they consider a "6" (top essay).

Essays

palisadesk said...

She told him the writing exam is the exact same exam they always gave for SAT II Composition.

It's not a new test.


I'm trying to figure out if it is the same as the SAT English Composition plus the SAT "Writing Sample" which was a separate, optional test back in the pre-recentered SAT days.

Those tests were scored out of 800, not on a rubric basis. I wrote both but don't remember exactly what was on them, though I do remember the Writing Sample was an opinion piece in essay format, and the Composition test involved questions of grammar, usage, syntax et alia.

Bostonian said...

Many students will not or cannot master the math needed to solve the SAT math questions "from scratch", as if they were open response questions. Those students will use the "plug-in" method to get some questions correct, and indeed SAT prep courses and books discuss the "plug-in" method.

Bostonian said...

The math required for the SAT I is covered, along with practice multiple choice questions, in the first 112 pages of "Math Study Guide for the SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests - 2010 Edition", by Richard F. Corn . (The rest of the book covers the SAT math subject tests and the ACT.) I've bought it for my son and like it. I think this book together with Corn's book "Math Secrets for the SAT and ACT" (covering test-taking strategies) and practice on actual SAT tests should be sufficient preparation for the SAT I math.

Catherine Johnson said...

Many students will not or cannot master the math needed to solve the SAT math questions "from scratch", as if they were open response questions.

The math is extremely simple (IMO).

The issue is fluency.

Catherine Johnson said...

Speaking of the writing exam, excuse me while I gag on what they consider a "6" (top essay).

uh-oh

Catherine Johnson said...

The issue of fluency & inflexible knowledge.

Catherine Johnson said...

I think this book together with Corn's book "Math Secrets for the SAT and ACT" (covering test-taking strategies) and practice on actual SAT tests should be sufficient preparation for the SAT I math.

Not for me.

I know how to do the math.

It's doing it fast that is the issue.

More accurately, it's seeing it fast that is the issue.

Catherine Johnson said...

I like Leff's book tremendously.

Leff was a high school teacher.

Catherine Johnson said...

Actually, it's not true to say that I knew all of the math going into this a couple of weeks ago. I'd learned it all but had forgotten.

At this point I've almost had enough review that I consciously know nearly all of the math required.

Fluency and "transfer of training" are the issues now.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the College Board, did anyone else notice that Educational Testing Service is getting one of those large, $20 million I believe, new reading grants?

Any thoughts on the significance of that to the future of the SAT?

Not good news that Ohio State was another recipient.

Catherine Johnson said...

did anyone else notice that Educational Testing Service is getting one of those large, $20 million I believe, new reading grants?

What are these grants??

Catherine Johnson said...

Bostonian - any particular reason you bought the Corn books?

Catherine Johnson said...

And, on another topic, what is going on with the internet?

Verizon was down all day yesterday; now Amazon is down.