Supplemental: Reviewing our back-to-school press-watch agenda!

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2015

The SATs make it three:
In the next two weeks, we’ll be conducting our annual review of the mainstream press corps’ back-to-school journalism.

In last week’s preview posts, we offered some background concerning two questions we would be discussing:

Are black kids suspended more often in Southern states than in the rest of the country? Also, what sort of progress has occurred in the New Orleans schools over the past ten years?

Each question received a bit of attention as the press corps traveled back to school in the past few weeks. This week, we’re adding a third question to our list:

Why have average SAT scores dropped a bit in recent years?

Presumably, every education reporter on the face of the earth knows the most likely answer to that statement-in-the-form-of-a-question. But starting with the Washington Post, major news orgs have worked quite hard to avoid telling the public what that most likely answer is.

The Washington Post’s front-page report was astoundingly bad, a flat-out journalistic disgrace. And then, sure enough! Along came Slate, with an even more ridiculous piece of pseudo-analysis.

Why have average SAT scores dropped in recent years? Surely, every education reporter on earth knows where a sensible answer to that question would start.

Unfortunately, these “reporters” have been working very hard to avoid a sensible discussion. It’s stunning to see what passes for “journalism” in this, our make-believe age.

Michael Moore said it in 2003: “We live in fictitious times.” That said, we know of no other topic where the news you tend to receive is so plainly fixed, fake, phony, false, faux—is so plainly fictitious.

That Post report was a howling disgrace. The piece at Slate was worse. Other orgs followed suit.

The shape of fictitious times: Here’s the headline which sits atop Laura Moser’s piece at Slate:

“SAT Scores Continue Troubling Downward Slide, but No One Knows Exactly Why”

Good God! Even more astounding is the note of attribution atop that ridiculous piece.

As it turns out, Laura Moser writes for Slate in conjunction with a project called “Schooled.” The project is sponsored by the Columbia Journalism School!

Alas! In fictitious times, elite institutions agree to promote the established fictitions! So it went as Moser's piece turned obvious truth on its head.

18 comments:

  1. Bob again plays cute by claiming that it's obvious why SAT scores have dropped, but not telling the reader what this obvious answer is. Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They Love Each OtherSeptember 8, 2015 at 3:34 PM

      It takes a certain amount of time, space and -- yes -- words to lay down the foundations of the existing press-wide breathless malfeasance passing itself off as journalism.

      You are routinely a time-wasting ideologue, David. A know-nothing know-it-all who repeats the same tired routines, never learning -- or always pretending not to have learned -- how they have been debunked.

      You are indeed tiresome.

      But I would have to admit, you somehow maintain a reserve of realness: It is easier to believe you are a fool than a charlatan.

      Here however, you join the lowest of this blogs trolls in bemoaning this necessary prelude to Somerby's upcoming efforts.

      Delete
    2. David in Cal you began your comment box leading effort on this important topic earlier in the day by saying:

      "I'm guessing Bob will focus on this footnote: "35.1% were underrepresented minority students, compared to 34.0% in 2013-14 and 33.0% in 2010-11."

      Yet Slate reports:

      "Meanwhile, the percentage of minority students taking the SAT is going up, from 47.5 in 2014 to 48.8 in 2015."

      Alas! Those figures are quite different. Care to venture some more guesses?

      Guess which numbers Bob might use when he stops teasing and starts telling?

      Guess which numbers Bob won't use and why?

      Presumably, every Howler reader on the face of the earth knows the most likely answer to those questions-in-the-form-of-a-guessing game.

      I'd venture a guess, but I'd rather wait until Part 2, 3, 4, or how ever many Parts Bob decides to devote to the topic before answering.

      Delete
    3. @ They Love...

      How much time and space are needed to lay down the foundations? Does the word count need to be in the millions or zillions?

      Delete
    4. Is it because more students are taking the test than ever before?

      Delete
    5. Slate says the SAT-takers were 48.8% minorities in 2015. The SAT says 32.5% of SAT takers in 2015 were underrepresented minority students. If they're both right, that seems to mean that 16.3% were non-underrepresented minorities.

      I wonder what the definitions are of "minorities" and "underrepresented." I would have guessed that the so-called "underrepresented minorities" were blacks and Hispanics. That would leave Asians as the non-underrepresented minorities. However, that number seems high for just Asians. I wonder if two different definitions are being used.

      Delete
    6. Scores are down because David didn't take the test this year.

      Delete
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  2. The SAT’s a big deal.

    The SAT was massively changed last year. Or maybe not, we’re not sure. Is the SAT being changed in some major way? Even now, we’re not sure— a blizzard of reporting and punditry....That said, much of the reporting was fuzzy—and the punditry was much worse.

    For ourselves, we weren’t sure we understood the sweep of the changes, their intention or their significance. In part, that was because of fuzzy writing.

    The SAT’s a big deal....We thought Tamar Lewin’s front-page NYT report about it was marked by fuzzy writing and imprecise thinking.

    Elsewhere in her front-page report, Tamar Lewin wrote in murky ways...we thought Lewin’s work was quite hazy.

    Essentially, Nick Anderson was repeating himself by the end of his opening paragraph.

    Are high school kids ready for college? In theory, the SAT is used to help answer that question."

    The SAT isn’t a pass-fail test....What does it even mean when we imagine a test like the SAT being made “easier?” We doubt that the editors, or the Post’s opinion columnists, would be able to say.

    The SAT exists for one purpose—to find distinctions among zillions of students from 50 states and other regions.

    Why would the College Board make the test “easier?” With an instrument like the SAT, what would that claim even mean?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a claim, but a fact. It means the following:

      1) No obscure vocabulary
      2) Fewer answer choices
      3) More time
      4) No penalty for guessing

      http://www.businessinsider.com/the-sat-is-changing-its-format-in-2016-and-will-be-easier-2015-6

      Delete
  3. If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you still end up with evil.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nothing says back to school, fictitious times, or Houses of Journalist County like Michael Moore.

    http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2015/08/michael-moores-torch-lake-house-lists-for-over-5-million.php

    ReplyDelete
  5. The basic building blocks of SAT Score Averages are simple results combined to form predicted states of student achievement. Any possible achievement can either be the case or not be the case, independent of all other states of affairs. The world is the totality of all states of student achievement that are, or may become, the case. SAT score averages can be combined together to form complex facts.

    A test score is utterly simple and unanalyzable, but they can exist in the context of states of group assessment. They have a logical form that determines the ways in which they can be combined into groups, and they fit into these groups "like links in a chain". That is, they fit together by virtue of their logical form alone, and do not need something extra like mdia reporting to hold them together.

    ReplyDelete

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