“So” Again! Plus Other Problems

This from the head of the College Board, David Coleman, about the SAT.  Look at his language! (My comments in square brackets.)

COLEMAN: Right now, I think there’s a breakthrough that the SAT added writing, because we do want to make the claim that kids need to write to be ready. Like, duh, right. [Isn’t this professional!] To be ready for college and career, it obviously includes writing. But I have a problem with the SAT writing. So [“So” here adds nothing.] if you look at the way the SAT assessment is designed, when you write an essay even if it’s an opinion piece, there’s no source information given to you. So [another do-nothing “so”] in other words, you write like what you’re opinion is on a subject, but there’s no fact on the table. So [and yet one more] a friend of mine tutors in Hong Kong, and she was asked by here Hong Kong students, where do you get the examples for the essay? She said, you know, it’s the American way, you make them up. Now I’m all for creativity and innovation, but I don’t think that’s quite the creativity we want to inspire in a generation of youth. That is, if writing is to be ready for the demands of career and college, it must be precise [ah—he thinks writing should be precise] , it must be accurate, it must draw upon evidence. Now [another word adding nothing] I think that is warranted by tons [very precise, Mr. Coleman] of information we see from surveys of college  professors, from evidence we have from other sources, so [this “so” is warranted] I think there is good reason to think about a design of SAT where rather than kids just writing an essay, there’s source material that they’re analyzing.

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