Sunday, March 13, 2005

Not The Write Stuff For The SAT

Seems the new, improved, SAT forgot to take something into account:

An estimated 300,000 high-school students across the nation took the new SAT yesterday for the first time. The College Board revised the exam after being faced with the threat of major institutions dropping it as a requirement. The most sweeping change is a new writing section — 35 minutes of multiple-choice questions and the 25-minute essay.

The reverberations were felt yesterday on the third floor of the W Hotel in downtown Seattle, as well. More than 50 Puget Sound-area grade-school teachers were learning how to teach their students handwriting, a skill that some may have thought the computer keyboard rendered obsolete. Some elementary schools no longer teach cursive.

"They stopped training teachers how to teach handwriting in most colleges and universities about 25 years ago," said Jan Olsen, an occupational therapist who developed a handwriting curriculum a decade ago. "But instead of putting something reasonable in place, they just dropped it," she said.

Which explains the reaction of ... a Roosevelt High School junior, when the exam's proctor told students to copy the instructions in cursive, not in print.

"We were all laughing," [Aubrey] Jenkins said. "Most high-school students do not remember cursive. We learned it in fourth or fifth grade and have not been required to use it. This was definitely the hardest thing on the test!"

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