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Not even on an essay exam in college would they be required to write on a topic dropped from the blue with which they quite possibly had zero previous familiarity.
When some students get the help of college admission consultants charging up to five figures, it’s hard to see a way to provide the resources necessary for all students to compete on an even playing field.
Portfolios which collect student artifacts produced in the normal course of their high school educations may hold some promise, though we’re likely to see many of the same inequities reinforced with this approach as our current system.
They can identify wording choices or examples which may have to be rethought to maximize information relevance. I have a lot more thinking of my own to do to figure out how this could translate into an assessment suitable for admissions purposes, but I believe it can be done.
They may not know exactly how to do what they need to do, but they can articulate the outlines of an approach. At the least, with the imminent demise of the SAT essay exam we can stop doing active harm.
The actual content of the essays was entirely irrelevant.
In fact, according to Les Perlman, former director of MIT’s Writing Across the Curriculum program and an expert in writing assessment, the best strategy is to “Just make stuff up.” Perlman told , “It doesn’t matter if [what you write] is true or not.
But by the end of the semester, even when the writing itself seems to lag, I know students are going to be okay eventually if they’re engaging in the kind of thinking writers do.
To assess this, in end-of-semester final conferences, as we discuss their last assignment, I ask what they would have to change in their essay if, for example, we switched up the audience, or even changed the medium of presentation from an essay to a video, or a tweet.
You know the ancient saying–if you want to pass the test, you need to understand the grader. Carry on.) These readers read your essay thoroughly and, based on a number of criteria, assign your essay a score out of 6.
Or better yet, wouldn’t it be nice to know how your essay will be scored? (Note: “interweb” is a slang term, and you probably shouldn’t use it in your essay.