If it weren’t for the god awful Analysis comp I’ll be taking on Saturday (and should be studying for now), I would certainly be going to EDcampNYC, the local unconference for teachers and the like. Anna and Justin will be going without me and leading a session or two about mathematical art stuff. If you go, you should definitely check out their session(s). Especially if you’re into making beautiful stuff. (Speaking of mathematical art, I have about 2400 words written about MArTH Madness, the huge math art event we hosted at Saint Ann’s. Must add pics. Coming soon.)
Anyhow, let me tell you about Mai Li. She’s an amazing young mathematician in our mathematical art seminar. She’s also opted out of Trig/Analysis for her junior year in favor of Intro Topology and Modern Algebra electives with Anna and a semester course called Fractals and Chaos. She helped lead the doodling sessions at MArTH Madness, and she just rocks in general. Well, as much as she would love to come help them share MArTH with the people at EDcampNYC, she can’t. She has to take the SAT’s.
No big deal. Whatever. She has to take them. It’s fine, but too bad. All of this is just the setup for some clever little thing that Justin said in our office the other day.
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A: The SAT Aptitude Test.
HA! Love it. It used to stand for “Scholastic Aptitude Test,” but I think they’ve abandoned that. (I wonder why?) I looked over some videos and stuff on the college board site, but I couldn’t find my answer. I did find this, however:
“the combination of high school grades and SAT scores is the best predictor of your academic success in college.”
hmm. Do you buy that?
The problem that I have with the SAT, in particular the math section, is that it cannot test for the applicants ability to do math. If you disagree, it’s simply that we have different notions of what it means to “do math.” I’m not gonna get too deep into this, because I’m mostly writing just to share Justin’s little meme, which might otherwise be lost forever.
“SAT Aptitude Test” is a fitting acronym, because the SAT is only really testing your ability to succeed on the SAT itself. Infer what you will. When students need to prepare, they don’t get a math tutor. They get an SAT math tutor. Could the inauthenticity be any more obvious? The biggest criticism of my department (accurate or not) is that we don’t adequately prepare students for this test. Perhaps that’s only further evidence of my point, since our primary objective is doing real mathematics with students as often as we possibly can. [disclaimer: I am not a spokesman for the school.]
What do the SAT’s demand for success? Technical training, perhaps, which is only one aspect of a mathematical education. Maybe most of all, SAT success requires SAT experience.
Want to prove that you’re SAT apt? Why not practice with the SAT aptitude test? Get it?
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OK that’s it. This is just something I’ve been thinking over and really enjoying. Thank you, Justin for your unending nerdly wit.
Oh by the way, we can keep expanding SAT and get the following, all of which are the same thing:
The SAT Aptitude Test
The (SAT Aptitude Test) Aptitude Test
The [(SAT Aptitude Test) Aptitude Test] Aptitude Test…
and on and on.
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Good luck students, and try to remember it’s a collection of paper and ink. Don’t let it shake you too hard.