News Herald – Juliann Talkington
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.
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)
Education Week – Liana Heitin
“The common core’s impact on student achievement may have peaked early and already tapered off, according to a new analysis of national test scores by the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy. “Most people when they think about common core, they think we won’t see an impact for 10 years,” said Tom Loveless, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of the report. “This is telling me the opposite.”…However, other experts say it’s still much too early to be drawing conclusions about how the common core is affecting student assessment data.”(more)
Education News – Kristin Decarr
“New research from Brown University has taken a closer look at the importance of the role teachers play in affecting student achievement and other non-cognitive skills that help students succeed later in life — but admits that we don’t know how much. The paper, “Teaching for Tomorrow’s Economy? Teacher Effects on Complex Cognitive Skills and Social-Emotional Competencies,” notes that “the degree to which teachers are developing students’ abilities to apply knowledge in new contexts, learn on the job, and solve unstructured tasks through a combination of creativity, adaptability, and sustained effort remains an open question.” Researchers say this is due to teacher evaluations being largely dependent on student test scores. Doing so does not allow for an adequate picture of how these teachers are affecting student performance on cognitive measures needed to succeed in today’s workforce, they say.”(more)
Achieve – Staff Writer
“In 2015, we first released this report, Proficient vs. Prepared, showing large disparities between most state test results and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). With states taking action to transition to new, more rigorous tests over the past couple of years and also setting new levels of proficiency or cut scores, states deserve a lot of credit for reducing or even eliminating the “honesty gap” that existed. With standards and tests that gauge whether students are able to show they can do grade-level work, parents are provided better information so they can partner with educators to impact student achievement. The 2016 edition of the Proficient vs. Prepared report demonstrates that most states acknowledged and corrected their reporting of student proficiency. Parents, students, and teachers in the states where gaps closed are now getting information from state tests that are much closer to other proficiency indicators allowing them to make more informed decisions for their individual students.”(more)