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Common sense a prerequisite for brilliance

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Do high standardized test scores assure success?

Many highly-accomplished people had far from perfect scores on the SAT test. Some struggled to get through college and others dropped out. With these results, there must be more to success than academic brilliance.

Granted, technological advances have made academic knowledge, especially in math and the sciences, more important. However, common sense is just as vital as it was fifty years ago. Sadly, many parents have become so focused on academic knowledge and fame that common sense has fallen by the wayside.

Common sense is something most of us understand intuitively, but is difficult to define. It is a combination of wisdom and self-discipline.

According to Wordnik wisdom is, “The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” Wisdom is not something that can be found in a textbook, taught in a classroom, or downloaded from the Internet. It is not tested through standardized tests like the SAT, MCAT, or GRE. Instead it is something that comes with exposure and experience.

The same dictionary defines self-discipline as, “Training and control of one’s conduct.” Self-discipline is generally modeled and taught at home through structure, responsibility, consequences, and praise.

Before the age of helicopter parents, most kids developed common sense as part of everyday life. Children were given considerable responsibility. Parents set expectations and there were consequences for poor choices. Only the winners received trophies. Through the school of hard knocks kids gradually learned how to present ideas, communicate with others, and alert people of delays. They came to understand the importance of punctuality and how to diplomatically address problems.

Now many parents are so worried about the “perfect” D1 sports program, landing a lead movie role, etc. that they do too much of their kids. It is often better to set general extra-curricular involvement requirements and establish minimum effort expectations rather than micromanage.

Finally, it is important for children to take responsibility for their actions. If a child is going to be late, he/she should notify the adult in charge. When a child damages property, he/she needs to earn money for the repair. And when a child performs poorly on a test, he/she needs to get a poor grade rather than have his/her parent negotiate with the principal.

Stepping out of the micromanagement role is challenging. However, it is easier once we realize our children need an environment that fosters common sense to become truly brilliant.

A’s on the rise in U.S. report cards, but SAT scores founder

USA Today – Greg Toppo

“The good news on America’s report cards: More high school teachers are handing out A’s. But the bad news is that students aren’t necessarily learning more. Recent findings show that the proportion of high school seniors graduating with an A average — that includes an A-minus or A-plus — has grown sharply over the past generation, even as average SAT scores have fallen. In 1998, it was 38.9%. By last year, it had grown to 47%. That’s right: Nearly half of America’s Class of 2016 are A students. Meanwhile, their average SAT score fell from 1,026 to 1,002 on a 1,600-point scale — suggesting that those A’s on report cards might be fool’s gold.”(more)

Why your new SAT score is not as strong as you think it is

The Washington Post – Nick Anderson

“Many college-bound students across America are celebrating this week what appear to be impressive results from the revised SAT. But in general the scores are not as strong as they seem at first glance. It turns out the new test comes with a degree of score inflation. Simply put: a 1300 on the SAT is not worth as much as it used to be. Figuring out what the new SAT scores mean, and how they compare to old SAT scores or to ACT scores, is likely to be a major source of confusion for students and parents in the next couple of years following the debut in March of a major revision to the nation’s oldest college admissions test. Charts the College Board released Monday show that for a vast swath of students, new SAT scores are comparable to results that would have been 60 to 80 points lower on corresponding sections of the old SAT.”(more)

Special Report: College Board gave SAT exams that it knew had leaked

Reuters – Renee Dudley, Steve Stecklow, Alexandra Harney and Irene Jay Liu

“Xingyuan Ding is a sophomore at the University of California, Los Angeles, one of America’s most exclusive public universities. In applying to schools, the 20-year-old from China took the SAT college entrance exam four times. He had an advantage on his final try: a booklet compiled by a Shanghai test-preparation school he attended. His study aid was far more valuable than the practice questions that students in America use to prepare for the SAT, the standardized test used by thousands of U.S. colleges to help select applicants. Known in Chinese as a jijing, the booklet was essentially an answer key. It revealed words from the correct responses to multiple-choice questions that had appeared on past SATs – many of which would be used again on the exam Ding took. Thanks to the booklet, Ding said he already knew the answers to about half of the critical reading section of the SAT when he took the test in Hong Kong in December 2013.”(more)

5 Misconceptions About the Redesigned SAT

The Huffington Post – Chuck Cohn

“The College Board, who administers the SAT, launched a new version of the exam on March 5, 2016, once again redesigning and updating the test. This newest redesign intends to better determine students’ success in college, and to more accurately reflect the skills that students need in high school and beyond. The latest update also includes several changes that can lend themselves to confusion. Here are five misconceptions about the redesigned SAT:”(more)

Redesigned SAT: Will it broaden more students’ college horizons?

The Christian Science Monitor – Stacy Teicher Khadaroo

“Thousands of students are heading to testing centers Saturday morning – guinea pigs for a major overhaul of the SAT, a standardized college entrance exam used around the country. The new version is meant to level the playing field for students who can’t afford fancy test-prep classes, align more closely with the skills that colleges want students to practice, and lessen the stress around the test. Among the students who took the test during school Wednesday in participating districts, 80 percent of 800 surveyed by the College Board said they preferred it to the old version and that it better reflected what they’ve been learning in school.”(more)