SAT mind-numbing, stress-inducing torture ritual, says Boylan ’80

By Caroline MacNeille '16

[Jennifer Finney Boylan '80]Jennifer Finney Boylan ’80 picks apart the problems with the SAT and explains its inability to give an accurate measure of a student’s potential in “Save us from the SAT” in the New York Times. The only way to measure a student’s potential, Jennifer says, is to “look at the complex portrait of their lives.”

Writer, professor and political activist Jennifer  graduated from Wesleyan with a degree in English. Jennifer’s autobiography She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders was a national bestseller. She now resides in Maine, where she is a professor of English at Colby College.

I WAS in trouble. The first few analogies were pretty straightforward — along the lines of “leopard is to spotted as zebra is to striped” — but now I was in the tall weeds of nuance. Kangaroo is to marsupial as the giant squid is to — I don’t know, maybe D) cephalopod? I looked up for a second at the back of the head of the girl in front of me. She had done this amazing thing with her hair, sort of like a French braid. I wondered if I could do that with my hair.

this was the moment I saw the terrible thing I had done, the SAT equivalent of the Hindenburg disaster. I’d accidentally skipped a line on my answer sheet, early in that section of the test. Every answer I’d chosen, each of those lines of graphite-filled bubbles, was off by one. I looked at the clock. Time was running out. I could see the Wesleyan campus fading before my eyes.

..the thing is, though, there already is something that accurately mirrors the grades a student gets in school. Namely: the grades a student gets in school. A better way of revising the SAT, from what I can see, would be to do away with it once and for all.

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Image: c/o of Jennifer Boylan/AP

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