Computer Lib / Dream Machines Nugget

“Schools as we know them all run on the same principles: iron all subjects flat than then proceed, in groups, at a forced march across the flattened plain. Material is dumped on the students and their responses calibrated; their interaction and involvements with the material is not encouraged nor taken into consideration, but their dutifulness of response is carefully monitored.”

This nugget from Ted Nelson’s  Computer Lib / Dream Machines made me think about growing up in public schools and having to take standardized tests. Most importantly, I find the SAT test to be flawed in so many ways. Teenagers are accepted in to colleges based on a single score that is supposed to show how intelligent they are. Students are required to prepare for a test that comes from a private company that is not taught in public schools. The test comes with obscure vocabulary words that a person may never use in their life as well as timed math and reading questions. I believe it lacks creativity and individuality in each student that takes this exam because these questions don’t show what students want their career path to be.

I prepared for the SAT for two years by taking a $600 course and hiring a tutor and I still ended up with a fairly low score. Although, my GPA in high school was above average and I was involved in volunteering. My low score determined where I went to college and I wasn’t accepted in my top two choices but I am still happy that I ended up going to VCU. Some students that have a below average GPA and that lack work ethic can achieve a high score and  have a chance at going to prestigious university.

Many colleges are considering on removing the SAT from their admission process. 850 colleges in the U.S. are now test-optional and students have the option if they want to add their scores to their application. If colleges found an alternative that shows a students intelligence and individuality then the SAT could be fully replaced.

6 thoughts on “Computer Lib / Dream Machines Nugget

  1. Emely,

    That is awesome that you chose this text to create your nugget blog from. I had seriously contemplated using the same text. Mr. Nelson’s text did, however, force me to look at education in a new light. While I agree with his logic, I think it really comes down to resources. Some form of “testing” ends up becoming the standard for evaluation in many situations, not just the SAT. It is a quick way to gauge whether or not the “standard” has been met. While other forms of evaluation such as a personal interview or guided tour through the person’s life journey would likely be more beneficial, the time and resources required just aren’t supported, usually due to financial reasons. It did make me think, also, about my project a little more and gave me quite a few ideas. Thanks for sharing.


  2. I noticed this and have similar views on it as you. It is especially relevant to me now that I’m studying for the GRE which is, as I have been discovering, ridiculous and unrelated to my major/what I have been studying for the past four years. But, I have to do it, and it must have some purpose (keep telling myself that it isn’t all a scam, but I do enjoy the brain massage I get when I’m on a roll with the practice problems, so at least I have that).

  3. I love that you brought this topic up and I think you connected it really well to the nugget. I completely agree with you! In my personal opinion, the SAT is designed for money purposes. It’s not about your comprehensive knowledge over the course of your schooling; it’s about paying to have someone teach you how to take the test, paying to take the test, paying for the prep books that you feel the NEED to buy or else you’ll fail, paying for the vocabulary flashcards, and then paying for the test again when you don’t do as well as your GPA says you probably should. I took 6 AP classes over my high school career and had above a 4.0 gpa (our school had weighted GPAs) and I did not do well at all on my SATs. I think your experience, my experience, and I’m sure a lot of other student’s experiences just like our own is enough to show that this test lacks A LOT of actual ability to test knowledge.

  4. What a good way to think of that kind of learning. Yes I’ve read that VCU is dropping that requirement as well and hopefully Virginia will phase it out entirely. But I feel like we need so much to really change the school system. It’s just problem built upon problem that I am not even completely aware of myself.

    I think one of the other posters was right about resources as well. Teachers are under a lot of stress and pressure and again we just need to revitalize the whole thing and probably allocate our funds differently.

    I love college so much because it isn’t that kind of learning. We are always talking about that kind of learning and how to improve. I love being in a place where people are working toward really identifying the problem and coming up with solutions instead of just complaining about them.

  5. Sad part is that they are taking away the SAT, so we really did do it for nothing. I told my sister who just took it this and she was angry (it was funny). Although I do not know when the effective date will be. I think that the SAT is a b.s. test that does nothing but stress us out even more. I think the same way about the placement tests we take in college. I have test anxiety and I think that public school have made a lot of students have this. I know a fair amount of people that will throw up or break out in hives at the thought of the SOLs, SAT, placements, etc. because of how “important” they are.

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