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SAT Chief: Reality TV Question Is Legit
Don't confuse the topic with the task of writing
By Luke Kelly-Clyne, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2011 2:44 PM CDT
Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi promotes her Snooki Slippers line.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – SAT chief Laurence Bunin says students should have been able to answer a controversial essay question on reality TV even if they'd never heard of Snooki or Randy Jackson. And that's the point critics are missing, he argues in the Daily Beast. They "confuse the literal topic with the task of writing the essay." The question itself contained all the information students needed to complete the "central task," he writes—"to take one side of an issue and develop an argument to support that position."

Bunin acknowledges that many teens may not be familiar with the goings on of reality TV shows, nor is the College Board suggesting they should be. "However, we have found from our pretesting that students not only grasp but are quite interested in the underlying issues covered in the prompt," including TV's effect on society and non-celebrities' desire for fame. It doesn't matter what Snooki's up to.

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
Mar 20, 2011 9:19 AM CDT
She's right. One doesn't need to have first hand knowledge of a topic to write effectively about it. One could even say, for example, that reality shows are not that student's forte, that only movies are where it's at, as it were. It's not what the student says that counts, it's how it is said and that makes for intelligence. If you don't agree, spend a few minutes listening to Sarah Palin. She speaks incessantly but has no idea of reality and doesn't speak of anything intelligently.
Mar 20, 2011 7:13 AM CDT
The test question is invalid because it states "Most people believe that the reality these shows portray is authentic." There is no research to support that statement.
Mar 20, 2011 4:30 AM CDT
They just don't get it that they are asking an intelligent person to take a position and prove it while knowing nothing about the topic but a few handful of facts from one source. Intelligent people just don't do that but the dumb ass schools encourage the little monsters to have full blown opinions about things they don't have a clue about. Thats why they are so uneducated and come across like idiots in the business world. Its just their feelings and dumb opinions that count to them.