HIH – What are your concerns about standardized testing?
Bara Sapir – Standardized testing has gone through enough iterations that what began as a skewed test that favored targeted socioeconomic and racial groups, has evolved with the times to become much more democratic and ‘fair’: more people are able to achieve a high score across all levels of society.
My main concern is not about the testing itself, in which I believe preparing for is, in itself, a worthwhile endeavour, but a kind of unwarranted demonizing of the test, almost to distract from the aspects of the application process which are far more questionable or typically attainable with a high price tag. The seeming funding behind this process and the demonizing of the test seems to ignore that testing provides a fair and clear assessment of a student’s abilities, the possibilities of learning the material that is deemed as demonstrating ‘college readiness, and it’s the only aspect of the test in which all students are compared similarly.
HIH – What can be done to enhance standardized testing?
Bara Sapir – Because I see standardized testing as an opportunity for growth and learning, sharing this view is useful. Perhaps there can be different ways to test students, for example, the logical reasoning section on the LSAT is a wonderful exercise in spatial and time management. Also critical thinking. In addition, the test can include various ways to take ‘in’ information the way the TOEFL includes speaking/listening.
HIH – What is your best advice for students in terms of how they should behave?
Bara Sapir – I’m sorry: I am not sure I understand the question. In general, I believe we all should behave with kindness, curiosity and integrity. Feeling grateful is also beneficial. I’m not sure how this question fits into these queries.
HIH – How should you handle standardized testing in order to prepare for college?
Bara Sapir – It depends on who the ‘who’ is. Preparing for a standardized admissions test is a wonderful opportunity to reinforce content and learning that demonstrates a student’s “college readiness.” It provides the opportunity to have a goal and work towards it as well as being discerning in HOW to prepare for it. The way we teach admissions tests is to help students master content, use the best test-taking strategy and critical thinking skills, manage time effectively (through speed reading) and embody an optimal mindset. This is a winning formula for success as a college student so gaining these habits to study smarter through preparation, rather than harder, are beneficial life skills.
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