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Shapiro-Prager-SAT Guinea Pig

Shapiro-Prager-SAT Guinea Pig - The Irascible Professor...

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11/21/09 9:18 AM The Irascible Professor - Commentary of the Day - 09-20-04. My son, the SAT guinea pig. Page 1 of 6 http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-09-20-04-epr.htm The Irascible Professor SM Irreverent Commentary on the State of Education in America Today by Dr. Mark H. Shapiro "Do not on any account attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once."... ...W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman. Commentary of the Day - September 20, 2004: My Son, the SAT Guinea Pig. Guest commentary by Felice Prager. An English teacher I worked with told me that the way he marked essays was exactly how his English teacher marked essays when he was a student. He would stand at the top of the stairway and throw all of the essays high into the air. The grade a student received was based upon how the essay landed. The essays that landed at the top of the pile would get D's because they didn't put in enough effort to weigh the essay down. The papers that landed at the bottom would get C's because there was too much to read. All of the other papers would receive B's because that was a decent enough grade. No one got A's because A's meant the students were perfect, and this teacher was the only one who had met a level of perfection worthy of an A. Anyone who has worked in a school where there is a faculty room with teachers interacting could probably tell similar tales. In truth, I sat with this teacher many times as he agonized about grading essays. Never once did I see him toss them in the air. Yet, I would humor him when he told new teachers about his weighted method of grading because it made about as much sense as any other method we were using at the time. For me, it was always easy to find the A's and the F's in a pile of essays. The rest of the grades were difficult to determine. Sometimes putting a letter or a number on a paper became as difficult as writing an article about the methodology behind it. Did the student develop an organized paper? Was it interesting? Did he use good word choices? Was his sentence structure effective? Was his grammar questionable? Was I subconsciously including this student's obnoxious personality into my judgment? Was I missing a point? Did the student have a point at all? Was I being swayed by the person's handwriting? Was I too tired to be rational? Was I sick of reading the papers? I was never confident that my grades were fair. In my current job as an educational therapist, I am called upon to
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11/21/09 9:18 AM The Irascible Professor - Commentary of the Day - 09-20-04. My son, the SAT guinea pig. Page 2 of 6 http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-09-20-04-epr.htm address a wide variety of needs in learning disabled students. For instance, this past summer, I worked one-on-one with a high school junior who was having difficulty with essay writing. The school district uses the Jane Schaffer Writing Method which is an organizational method of writing multi-paragraph essays, and my student just didn't get it.
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