At lunch with Brooke yesterday the topic of standardized tests came up again.
Silas does fine in school. He just doesn’t do so well on the state tests that are now required as part of the Common Core.
My position has been that the tests are a total waste of time, and that the results don’t matter for anyone except the Principal and the School Board whose job and state funding are dependent on the aggregate results.
Brooke is a little more worried, though. She raised the issue with Silas’s doctor at the annual visit last week, and the Doctor offered to write a prescription requiring that the school allow him more time for exams. It was a nice offer. Maybe we’ll take him up on it. Or maybe not.
It’s nothing short of preposterous that a fourth grade exam score would decide someone’s college admission fate. Let alone the rest of their life. I don’t think it really does. But if it does, it’s a prima face example of stupid.
Later Brooke called my attention to an article on Slate about Bard College’s admissions exam.
For the second year, you can write four 2500 word essays, choosing from a list of 21. The faculty grades it. If you get a B+ or better on all four, you’re in. You don’t submit your high school grades, you don’t sit through the SAT, you don’t fill out the Common App.
What a relief. If all else fails, if this standardized test insanity prevails eight years from now, Silas can go to Bard.
But my second thought was, “Hey, I wonder if I could get in?”
I’d considered applying to Bard back when I was applying for colleges. My Grandfather was a big fan of the school. He even ordered me a Bard Catalog to encourage me in that direction. I didn’t apply to Bard. But I did consider it.
I don’t really want to go back to college. At least not as an undergraduate.
But the essay choices are fascinating.
So fascinating that I think I’ll pick a few and write them up.
Maybe you can, too. You can see the full set of rules and the questions here.