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Tulane Honors Program

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The New SAT: Unpersuasive - New York Times

I am still not sure what to make of the new SAT essay, but here is (yet another) opinion:
The real problem with the SAT persuasive essay assignment isn't what it conveys about spontaneity or style but what it suggests about how to argue. Students are asked to ponder (quickly) a short excerpt of conventional wisdom about, say, the advisability of following rules, and they are then instructed to ''develop your point of view on this issue.'' But if the goal of ''better writing'' is ''improved thinking,'' as the College Board's National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges has pronounced, perhaps it's worth asking whether practice in reflexively taking a position on any potentially polarizing issue is what aspiring college students -- or the rest of us -- need most.

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