Richmond's Own (but unowned) Website


School’s out!  And now to a summer full of fun, exciting things.  Like the IB Extended Essay.  Though I’m sure that shouldn’t take up too much time – just need to avoid that ever so present pit of death called procrastination.  Lots of band stuff going on, and hopefully, I’ll finally go out there and do a driver’s ed class and get my permit.  And get a Facebook.  But I said both of those things last summer, and neither ended up happening, so I’ll see…

Had a clarinet party – and no, we don’t get together and play music for hours (not saying that’d be bad…we just don’t really do that at a clarinet party) – on Friday, and had a great time.  Basically, it consisted of badminton, super smash brothers, Pictionary, and a lot of food!  And yesterday, it was my cousin’s 5th birthday, so we went to his house, which consisted of watching over a dozen little kids, Wii Fit and more food.  

And I’m thinking about moving over to a blog at Wordpress.  Actually, I think that this template is based on Wordpress.  Mostly, because the main focus of my site is the blog, along with a few other random bits.  And from what I’ve seen, you can add pages on wordpress, similar to this site.  Anyone out there with advice on this?  I think their blog options are probably more plentiful than just the ability to approve comments, and use RSS feeds, though the options on the other pages are less than what Weebly offers.  But I bet that it’d be easier to edit than this is.  Right now, I need to log in, the choose the site, wait a long time for it to load, then go to the blog page, and a whole host of other steps.  It just seems like a long, arduous process to update the blog page, and since it’s what I update most often, I’d rather move over to a place where the blog isn’t as hard to update.  Plus, the Weebly editor seems to lag, so right now, I’m typing into Word, so I can just copy and paste it.  But anyways, that’s to see in the future during this summer…

And now, the first edition of the mailbag, straight from the comments of the last entry!

Kevin writes: And can you elaborate on the part about the "based on the wealth of the test takers"?   

Answer: Basically, the based on the wealth part applies to SAT classes, private tutors, etc, some of which can run quite expensive.  I just feel that it gives people with more money an unfair advantage to raise their SAT scores by x number of points.  Say if there are 2 students that both have scores of 1600, and are equal in every aspect except their financial situations.  And there’s a program that says they’ll raise a student’s score by 400 points – is it fair that the student with more money gets to have the score of 2000?  Of course people could point out that the student with less money could study on their own, but why couldn’t the student with money do that.  And people may say that Colleges look beyond SAT scores.  And if that’s the case, why should the student with more money even take the classes?  

 Kevin also writes: The essay is in fact an acceptably good way to test one's ability to analyze, because the essay is just a 2 step process of coming up with a point and proving it.

 Answer: I suppose, it does test in that respect.  Though there are several professors that say that it doesn’t encourage a good writing process, like outlining, drafts, editings, and the like, because of the severe time constraints.  And is it really analyzing?  All they want to see is that your support your ideas, so you can make up facts, statistics, and quotations and throw them in there.  I don’t feel that it really gives adequate time to really develop an idea.  But it’s a double edged sword – improve it, and the test goes on longer, which no one really wants.  But get rid of it, and you’re getting rid of something that at least some people find a valuable test.  

 There’s my response, Kevin – feel free to pick it apart more if you want! :]

I was emailed this article:

called “SAT at war with Itself” and found it a very interesting read – I’d highly recommend it!

Mr. Houghton writes: What would be some alternate ways for colleges to predict the likelihood of an applicant's success?

 Answer: I’m not sure if there’s a single way.  I feel that looking at students transcripts, and their performance in the context of their schools is a better indicator, and I know some schools look at that more than the SAT scores.  Even though students better off financially can also get more aid for their regular school work, I think that it’s still a better reflection, because school courses (at least they should) test the abilities of students to think critically, broadly, and out of the box, things neither a tutor nor a multiple choice test can really instill in a student.  Or, instead of just a test, there could be several options for students (not all of whom do as well on a test), used a basis of standardized comparison.  There could be some sort of visual project, oral presentation, written essay, or standaredized test component, and maybe students choose 2 to do, and are judged on a standardized criteria.  That way, students could choose to be tested on the same material, but in a way that suits their own learning method.  Though for those who clamor for some standardized comparison, I wonder if it’s possible to somehow standardize state testing, or add a national standardized component.  Then, it’s integrated into testing students already take, and doesn’t take additional time.  Also, if it’s with state testing, it gives a wider range of subjects that could have nationally standardized results, akin to the ACT I suppose.  

 Just my take on the standardized tests, I hope my ideas are clear enough to make sense! 

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