There was a good piece on NPR Saturday Edition about some of the problems of the SAT writing test. Basically, besides the other links at this site, they did an interview with Les Perelman, who is the director of writing at MIT. You can listen to the various stories from the web site, though there are a couple of things worth noting:
- Perelman studied the word count of the sample essays used by the SAT folk for scoring and the score they were supposed to receive and figured out that there was a direct correlation between the word count of the essay and the score. As the interviewer said, you could weigh the essays and get the same kind of score as you would from a reader.
- Perelman is on the WPA-L mailing list, and he has provided a few more tidbits about the whole interview process. Among other things, he has said that they talked to him for about an hour to get the 3 or 4 minutes of airtime, and that all of his efforts at bringing up the idea of portfolio grading were cut out of the show.
Update to this and the previous post:
Well, well, well: now that USA Today is weighing in on all this, maybe there will be a bit more attention to the problems of the SAT writing test. Maybe….