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Re: SAT coaching & personal update

Dear All,

I took a long vacation (Europe last summer with two teens), moved my house
(lots of refurbishing required), and am now trying to catch up only the last
several months of ARN...what a task. You folks are amazing, I am in awe of your

I did some serious reading on Ed Reform during 1999 and 2000 and came across
many fine books, which is how I found Susan O, and thru her, this list.

One of the other amazing books I found was None of the Above: The Truth Behind
the SATs, by David Owen and Marilyn Doerr. John Katzman, President of Princeton
Review says it is "the best book ever written about the SAT."

Surely he is right, it was incredible information. A must for the folks on this
list who have not seen it!!!

Owen is a journalist; Doerr teaches science and math.


Introduction: High Anxiety
1. The Kettle Defense
2. Holistic Grading
3. Multiple Guess
4. Numbers
5. Tempting the Medicine Freaks
6. Coaching
7. Beating the Test
8. Test Security
9. The Cult of Mental Measurement
10. Brains
11. Mythology
12. Testing and Teachers
13. Testing and Society: What can be done?
Appendix A A Poisoned Question
Appendix B Illegal Test Use
Appendix C College List

Obviously, you will love it. The authors expose the College Board for the scam
that it is, no holds barred!

Some coaching strategies have absolutely no positive effect, because the
coaches are actually trying to teach content. Big mistake. Princeton Review's
people took the test apart and teach how to beat the test. The typically teach
kids to raise their scores by 185 points. From page 120:

"Right from the start," Katzman says, "I tell our kids, 'I'm not a teacher.
This isn't school. I'm not going to teach you English. I'm not going to teach
you math. I'm going to teach you the SAT." I tell the kids that they're not
competing with each other, they're competing with ETS (Educational Testing
Services). And the mind set is: Let's blow those assholes away."

The key to Katzman, Robinson, and Scheller's method is, in a sense, the
bi-serial correlation. ETS's circular logic is meaningful after all: students
who do well on the SAT really do do well on the SAT. And because they do, it's
possible to beat the test....

Read this book, you will not regret it. My 15 year old is reading it,
because... she will soon take those blood sucking exams with the goal of
getting into Berkeley, like her sister. In my mind, there is always Santa Cruz.

Only about 500 posts more, and I'm all caught up! Juanita...I love you! Mike
K...read this week's Newsweek; people are getting fed up with attending every
event their child ever participated in. No mas TAAS just had me in tears; you
folks have a wry and funny humorous side. Wasn't it great seeing Brian LaCloux
on the cover of the NEA newsletter last month, and all the High Stakes Testing

Those who were here a year ago may remember my long letter to Governor Davis,
which was published in Educators for Urban Minorities in the Spring (Thank you
Ofelia!). I put in dozens of hours on the Testing Committee at my pathetic
inner city school and finally had to resign the Comm....they are bound and
determine to raise test scores and all our discussions about high stakes
testing were just side-tracking them. Some of the members did thank me for
sharing so much info with them, but now they have to get back to business and
prepare for the STAR and HSEE tests. The Principal heard a bit too much about
my contributions and is so ill-informed himself (and determined to teach to the
test) that he considers me a threat and told me he doesn't want me talking
about testing any more with other staff members, nor does he want me to talk
about the soda machines. I teach math, I'll get a job elsewhere, time to move
on. I know I have planted some seeds, the soil at my school is so rocky only a
robust plant has any hope...but maybe someone will pick up the torch.

I am so glad California is having an energy crises, it will give Gov. Davis
something else to occupy his time. If he isn't involved with education he can't
screw it up as bad. On the other hand, the more that Bush does, perhaps the
more obvious it will be that high stakes sabotage learning. We better start
hitting Sen Kennedy with some information campaigns pretty quick though.

love you folks...

claudia ayers


>My own anecdotal experience concerns my oldest son when he was getting ready
>for college. I was worried that he and his brother would bankrupt me with
>their tuition. I suggested to my oldest that he at least pick up a
>preparation book for the SAT. He refused. "Everyone I know says you really
>can't study for it, Dad" is what he told me. He must have known what he was
>talking about. He was awarded a National Merit Scholarship

He's sharp, Mike, a chip off the block. He didn't need coaching, but it is
possible to coach this puppy!