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SAT and ACT flunk out in documentary “The Test & the Art of Thinking”

The Los Angeles Times is the latest publication to pick up on “The Test & the Art of Thinking”:

Michael Arlen Davis’ briskly informative, convincing documentary “The Test & the Art of Thinking” takes aim at those gantlets of supposed aptitude measurement, the SAT and ACT (originally, the Scholastic Aptitude Test andAmerican College Testing, respectively; now known by their acronyms). We know they’re an all-important part of most four-year college entrance requirements, but do they reflect a student’s true exposure to education? Or are they just inflated obstacles with little to say about future academic performance or professional success?

Davis interviews students, teachers, parents, academics and tutors, and finds only more grounds for controversy — including the exams’ encroaching effect on what gets taught in high school (spoiler: whatever’s in the test) — than real answers about their value.

See the full piece here.

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Film Asks If SAT Tests Fail or Help Students

From Voice of America, some notes on “The Test & the Art of Thinking”:

Students and parents worldwide bemoan the test that most colleges use as a measurement for an applicant’s aptitude, abilities or intelligence.

But one parent explores the lengths students and parents go to to score well on the SAT in the documentary “The Test and the Art of Thinking,” premiering April 27.

“What’s interesting is Carl Brigham, who created the SAT, later on wrote a number of articles debunking his original premise that these certain psychological quizzes had the authority that he originally thought,” Michael Arlen Davis, the director of the film, told VOA.

“But it hasn’t stopped, it never really stopped in its tracks the sort of notion of IQ.”

Read more of their observations right here.

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“The Test & the Art of Thinking”: The Problem With College Entrance Exams

Village Voice had this to say about “The Test & the Art of Thinking”:

College entrance exams remain a source of anxiety for high schoolers and their parents — a cycle on repeat for decades now. In his documentary The Test & the Art of Thinking, director Michael Arlen Davis digs into the tests’ sordid origins, demonstrates how they’re mastered with skills akin to the tactics players use to beat video games, and details how their utility has been thoroughly debunked.

Among the tests’ biggest critics — and most profound advocates for their demise — are coaches enlisted by wealthy parents to boost their kids’ scores. They show how to ace questions without even reading them, and how essays with blatant inaccuracies can get a perfect score as long as they hit the right criteria. It’s a brutal takedown of a practice now warping K-12 education and should embarrass every school that still requires them.

Read the full article here.

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Review: ‘The Test and the Art of Thinking’ Is About A) The SAT

From the New York Times:

“Mathematics, science, being able to use the English language: These tests don’t measure it and they don’t improve it — so why do they exist?” the president of Bard College says early in “The Test and the Art of Thinking,” a documentary about the SAT exam.

His sentiment is echoed throughout this insightful film as the director, Michael Arlen Davis, interviews dozens of exasperated students, academics and others who declare that the SAT (and the ACT) fail to accurately gauge potential, ability or creativity.

“It’s not a math test, it’s not a reading test, it’s a get-the-answer test,” says one private tutor. Together, those interviewed make a strong case against the exam and its administrator, the College Board. Yet even though they agree on the inadequacy, and even the harmfulness, of the test, few can avoid being involved with it.

Colleges, too, are shown to be stuck in a quandary: to rely less on the SAT could mean that the average score of admitted students falls. That would cause a college’s rankings to slip, which would hurt its ability to recruit students and raise money. More worrisome is evidence that high schools are caught in a cycle of their own, in which they gear curriculums toward test preparation rather than academics.

See the complete review here.