Conclusion: The journey means nothing

I love theories:

Several colleges and universities are reporting significant declines in average scores on the new SAT test, leading many high school counselors and college admissions officers to conclude that the longer exam is wearing out test takers and hurting their performance.

USA Today, which reported the score drops in today’s edition, said some colleges reported no score declines but others reported large drops, such as 28 points at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Penn., and 23 points at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Tex.

Is it possible that the average student applying to some of these schools is different than in the past? More people being enticed to apply to college, the football team is winning, or some other factor? Probable? Who knows, and really, who cares… What’s important is the simple fact that standardized tests shouldn’t be such a huge factor in the application process. If the test is too exhausting, imagine what four years of high school is like. Or, the admissions offices could just look at the transcript of those four years that (allegedly) filter into that test.

The result could also just be the result of our nationalized education system dumbing our students into being able to regurgitate facts without any critical thinking. Perhaps that has something to do with this:

Charles A. Deacon, dean of admissions at Georgetown University, said the average applicant for his freshman class had a score on those two sections 7 points below last year’s average. He said his own study of the old and new tests suggests the drop may be explained by more emphasis on reading in the new test, which has for years gotten lower scores than writing.

When in doubt, resort back to the most basic assumption of what education should be. In the business world, I don’t care if someone knows a few trivia questions. A thinking person could find that in under a minute with Google and a few keystrokes. Give me someone who knows how to analyze and solve problems. I don’t believe I’m alone. Athletes don’t train for marathons by driving 26.2 miles every day. Learning is no different.