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Re: 11-year-olds taking SAT

Oh George where have you been?/? My oldest is now a senior in college and
there were friends of hers who were taking the SAT in 7th grade (just for
practice, of course!) Now there are courses offered here in California
which cater to 7th graders who want to take the SAT (guess it's not just for
practice anymore) so I guess Chicago is just behind the curve. :)


-----Original Message-----
From: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List
[mailto:ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU]On Behalf Of George N. Schmidt
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2001 4:55 AM
Subject: 11-year-olds taking SAT

January 9, 2001

Hello Everyone,

High school isn't the only place where SAT and ACT craziness is imposed. In
many places, it begins much earlier.

My 11-year-old, sixth grade son Danny was over yesterday (divorce, joint
custody visitation thing) and mentioned that this week he is taking the CASE
(Chicago Academic Standards Examination) in Algebra. He's been told that if
he "passes" the CASE it he gets "high school credit." In Chicago we have K-8
elementary schools and 9 - 12 high schools, so he's still quite a distance
from "high school."

He also told me that he is prepping to take the SAT. He didn't say why. With
all the snow on the ground here, he said, instead of playing outside on the
playground when they arrive at school (which in the case of his school,
arrival is around 7:30) they can get test prep now.

At his Chicago public school (one of eight "gifted" schools, admission by
Wechsler taken in kindergarten or at age four), this is considered OK stuff.

While driving him to karate class, I asked him if he had played in the snow
since the blizzard hit December 12 (and snowed Chicago in, despite our
"miracle" mayor, to this day in some side streets and alleys). Danny said
that the only time he's been out in the snow has been when he's over here at
our home. Over "there", apparently, his job is his studies. He says he tries
to have a snowball fight now and then, but it takes a few more people than
usually has around.

I'll take more interest in the broader details of these absurdities in the
coming year. Some fights I've decided I have to postpone.

There is no way to deal with the test insanity jointly with his other parent
at this point in history, so please don't suggest that. I had to go through
court-ordered mediation in order to register him for Little League baseball
last summer. One of the things you realize if you go through divorce or
mediation is that the official institutions of society rely heavily on these
test data in making decisions. Woe betide the parent who tries to argue in
front of a local "domestic relations" judge (and all ours at the county
here are political hacks with Democratic Party ties) that tests are not

Last week we played a lot while on vacation. On his 11th birthday, Danny and
his buddies requested a "Super Soaker Party" at which they had a water
in our front and back yards for more than an hour. (All of the parents
brought the extra clothes, and it was May). I got the impression that most
those young guys had at least as much fun as they'd had at some of their
expensive parties lately. Apparently, "gifted" boys prefer to be boys a lot
of the time. Too bad we don't give them much of a chance to do so in
test-crazed places like Chicago.

Right now we're on deadline for the January Substance, so I've gotta go.

George Schmidt
Editor, Substance
5132 W. Berteau
Chicago, IL 60641

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