Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Part-time Job Vacancy in Texas?

The SAT I is now requiring a mandatory essay as part of the test. The College Board and Educational Testing Service (the developer of the test) have gone to great lengths to assure parents and students that he grading of the essay will not be subjective. In an attempt to demystify the process, the College Board allowed a Washington Post reporter to sit in on a pilot scoring session last week that is like the ones that will be used to train thousands of part-time test scorers around the country. The reporter agreed not to divulge questions that could be used in future tests but was otherwise free to describe what took place at the meeting. In the resulting front page article in Sunday's Post, in a discussion about scoring:

An essay that does little more than restate the question gets a 1. An essay that compares humans to squirrels -- if a squirrel told other squirrels about its food store, it would die, therefore secrecy is necessary for survival -- merits a 5. Brian A. Bremen, an English professor at the University of Texas at Austin, notes that the writer provides only one real example. Nevertheless, he says, the writer displays "a clear chain of thought" and should be rewarded, "despite his Republican tendencies."

I'd like to think Professor Bremen was "joshing" in that good, old boy Texas way. I'd also like to think a professor at the University of Texas has enough brains not to josh about "Republican tendencies" (at least in front of a reporter for the Washington Post). Want to bet somebody in Texas is looking for a new part-time gig?

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