SAT

15 Nov 2008
Hasty generalizations about grammar quickly get you into trouble. As a case in point, consider the difference between subject-verb agreement and pronoun-antecedent agreement. Both require, in the core cases, attention to the number (singular or plural) of a particular noun phrase. At the same time, there are important differences, and treating the two as identical can lead to significant problems.
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21 Jun 2008

The Predictive Validity of the SAT

Submitted by Karl Hagen
A few days ago, the New York times carried an article about the SAT with the headline "Study Finds Little Benefit in New SAT."

Here's the lede:

The revamped SAT, expanded three years ago to include a writing test, predicts college success no better than the old test, and not quite as well as a student’s high school grades

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2 May 2008

Transliteration for dummies

Submitted by Karl Hagen
Note to the College Board: the correct transliteration for 'þ' is 'th', not 'p'. I've finally started to go back to analyzing the SAT writing material to infer the College Board's views on grammar, and while flipping through the January 2008 SAT, my eye came upon this bit from a passage in a reading section about Ezra Pound's translation of the Old English poem "The Seafarer":
Moreover, there are unfortunately some mistakes, as when Pound misreads purh ("through") as pruh ("coffin").
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24 Oct 2007

Another College Board Error

Submitted by Karl Hagen
I haven't written more installments in my series lambasting the College Board recently, but the following may prompt me to continue sooner rather than later. (I have a lot more to say about useless explanations.) I have discovered what appears to be an error on an operational test question. In other words, this question counted towards the scores of all students who took this particular test.

The May 2007 SAT. Section 6, question 24 has the following question:

After the uprising of October 10, 1911, that has led to the establishment of a Chinese republic, many Chinese Americans decided to return to China in hopes of a bright future there. No error

Do you see the problem?

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5 Jul 2007
This is part 2 of a series.
(Part 1, Part 3)

The instructions for the writing sections of the the SAT ask the test taker to use the conventions of "standard written English" in finding correct answers. But as I noted in part 1 of this article, the public specifications as to what that means, are vague.

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2 Jul 2007
The following article is part 1 in a series.

Some time ago, I wrote about a flawed question, in The Official SAT Study Guide from the College Board. In trying to understand the thinking of the question writer, I reviewed the official explanations to the test that are available on the College Board's website through its online course.

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