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"New SAT Won’t Include Obscure Vocabulary Words"

"New SAT Won’t Include Obscure Vocabulary Words"

Apr 16th, 2014, 04:58 AM
  #1  
ira
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"New SAT Won’t Include Obscure Vocabulary Words"

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/ed...-words.html?hp

"... the vocabulary questions ... will no longer include obscure words. Instead, the focus will be on what the College Board calls “high utility” words that appear in many contexts, in many disciplines — often with shifting meanings — and they will be tested in context. For example, a question based on a passage about an artist who “vacated” from a tradition of landscape painting, asks whether it would be better to substitute the word “evacuated,” “departed” or “retired,” or to leave the sentence unchanged".

Wow. Just like in grade school.

Another example of the general lessening of standards and the dumbing down of the American mind.

If the kids can no longer pass the test, change the test.


What "obscure" words do you think should be kept? Nothing over 3 syllables, please.
ira is online now  
Apr 16th, 2014, 05:37 AM
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vacated, I love working with people from the US. They seem to "take leave" or going on "vacation" not sure what "vacated" means is it some sort of colon cleaning.

Two degrees but still struggle with special words

Hi Ira
bilboburgler is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 07:11 AM
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Hi Ira - are you sure you don't want this is the Lounge?
adrienne is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 07:11 AM
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Do you have to take the SAT now to travel in Europe?
bvlenci is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 07:12 AM
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in the Lounge.
adrienne is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 10:38 AM
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Who gets to decide what "obscure" is? Is the SAT now testing at 8th grade level?
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 11:11 AM
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Hmmmm. I guess I thought testing on "obscure" words was a way to see if the student is average or above average in her vocabulary.

"Dumbing down" is right.
Tabernash2 is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 03:38 PM
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I always thought that the obscure words were meant to give an edge to students whose parents could afford to send them to SAT prep classes, not as a measure of actual vocabulary proficiency.
november_moon is online now  
Apr 16th, 2014, 03:49 PM
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Personally, I don't know very many kids who do well on the vocabulary section. I was an avid reader as a kid and I did rather poorly on the english portion. On the other hand, I aced the writing test which was an optional test given on a different day. Nobody cared about writing back in the day.

My one DD aced every vocabulary test in Honors English in high school without studying. She bombed the English portion of the SATs. I am guessing the SAT's vocab section is obscure words that most kids don't know or have rarely seen. Kudos to the kids who do well on that section.
girlonthego is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 03:59 PM
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Poor kiddies won't have a reason to even learn words for a test, theyll be the drone workers of the future. America the uneducated.
princesslily is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 04:03 PM
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As far as I know, they haven't learned them anyway, thus the lousy scores.
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Apr 16th, 2014, 04:06 PM
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The number of universities not requiring the SATs is growing. So they've got to change it up or die.
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Apr 16th, 2014, 04:06 PM
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I personally think that writing and speaking should primarily be about communication. Peppering your speech or writing with obscure words is not, IMO, something to be terribly proud of. If you stand behind what you say, then there is no reason to gussy up the language.

As for ira's "concerns", old people simply don't like change.

I always thought that the obscure words were meant to give an edge to students whose parents could afford to send them to SAT prep classes, not as a measure of actual vocabulary proficiency.

I'm not sure that was the intent, but that has certainly been the result.
travelgourmet is online now  
Apr 16th, 2014, 04:08 PM
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Poor kiddies won't have a reason to even learn words for a test, theyll be the drone workers of the future. America the uneducated.

That some folks think memorizing vocabulary words amounts to education is precisely what is wrong with education in the US (and elsewhere).
travelgourmet is online now  
Apr 16th, 2014, 04:10 PM
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"Peppering your speech or writing with obscure words is not, IMO, something to be terribly proud of."

I have an aunt who does this. And then another aunt who takes great pleasure in "translating" what she has said into normal words It's pretty entertaining for the rest of us.
november_moon is online now  
Apr 16th, 2014, 04:13 PM
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I'll defend the SAT people, to a point.

The referenced article says they won't know if the new test will be a better predictor of college success than the old test. If it does, then it's a good change.

The other issue that was mentioned was the belief that the change will enable the test to better gauge a student's achievement in high school, instead of allowing students who can afford prep courses to have an edge. If that's true -- and there is an "if" in there -- I endorse the change.
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Apr 16th, 2014, 04:25 PM
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"I always thought that the obscure words were meant to give an edge to students whose parents could afford to send them to SAT prep classes, not as a measure of actual vocabulary proficiency."

This wasn't true in our experiences. You can study for the SAT or ACT by yourself using a number of methods. We bought the workbook but didn't pay for classes in person.
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Apr 16th, 2014, 04:28 PM
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Travelgrommet doesn't know memorisation is an inescapable part of education, why am I not surprised. Get those zip up coveralls ready lol.
princesslily is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 04:37 PM
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Some folks think reading widely, and learning a lot of words in the process, amounts to education.
jahoulih is online now  
Apr 16th, 2014, 04:44 PM
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It's sort of unhelpful that the Times article doesn't give any examples of "obscure" words that used to be on the test, but won't be any longer.
jahoulih is online now  

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