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双语:高考成绩能否预测美国高中生未来学术能力?

2018-05-21 09:57

来源:华尔街日报

作者:

  This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of U.S. high-school students will sit down to take the SAT, anxious about their performance and how it will affect their college prospects. And in a few weeks, their older peers, who took the test last year, will start hearing back from the colleges they applied to. Admitted, rejected, waitlisted? It often hinges, in no small measure, on those few hours spent taking the SAT or the ACT, the other widely used standardized test.

  3月初,数十万美国高中生参加SAT考试,他们非常紧张自己的发挥,担心成绩会影响到上大学。几周后,他们那些去年参加了考试的学长们开始收到所报考大学的通知。录取、落榜还是候补?这在很大程度上取决于他们参加SAT或ACT考试时那几个小时的表现。

  Standardized tests are only part of the mix, of course, as schools make their admissions decisions. They also rely on grades, letters of recommendation, personal statements and interviews. But we shouldn’t kid ourselves: The SAT and ACT matter. They help overwhelmed admissions officers divide enormous numbers of applicants into pools for further assessment. High scores don’t guarantee admission anywhere, and low scores don’t rule it out, but schools take the tests seriously.

  当然,标准化考试只是录取决定的考量之一。除此之外,学校还会参考学生平时的成绩、推荐信、个人陈述以及面试。但我们不应自欺欺人:SAT和ACT相当重要。它们能帮助任务繁重的招生官们将海量考生划分开来,以做进一步评估。高分不能保证录取,低分也不是毫无机会,但学校不会把考试当儿戏。

  Unfortunately, a lot of myths have developed around these tests—myths that stand in the way of a thoughtful discussion of their role and importance.

  遗憾的是,人们对这些考试产生了大量误解,而这些误解妨碍了对它们的作用以及重要性的认真探讨。

  Myth: Tests Are Not Related to Success in the Real World

  误解一:考分与现实世界中的成功无关

  Clearly there are many factors, beyond what is measured by tests, that have an impact on long-term success in work and life. But fundamental skills in reading and math matter, and it has been demonstrated, across tens of thousands of studies, that they are related, ultimately, to job performance.

  除了考试衡量的因素外,毫无疑问,还有很多其他因素会影响工作与生活中的长期成就。但阅读与数学方面的基本技能还是很重要的,通过对成千上万份研究的梳理,我们发现,这些技能与工作表现存在终极关联。

  Longitudinal research has demonstrated that major life accomplishments, such as publishing a novel or patenting technology, are also associated with test scores, even after taking into account educational opportunities. There is even a sizable body of evidence that these skills are related to effective leadership and creative achievements at work. Being able to read texts and make sense of them and having strong quantitative reasoning are crucial in the modern information economy.

  纵向研究发现,即使在考量了教育机会因素后,一些重要的人生成就(比如出版小说或获得科技专利)仍然与考试成绩息息相关。另外,有大量证据表明,此类技能还与工作中的有效领导力以及创造性成就有关。阅读文本、理解文本以及强大的定量推理能力在现代信息社会至关重要。

  Myth: Beyond a Certain Point, Higher Scores Don’t Matter

  误解二:高考成绩过了某个分数线后,再高就没有意义了

  Some might concede that these skills are important—but only up to a point, beyond which higher scores don’t matter. It’s an understandable intuition, but the research clearly shows that, all else being equal, more is better.

  有些人可能承认这些技能很重要——但达到某个分数线后,再高就没有意义了。我们能理解这种直觉推断,但是研究表明,在所有其他条件相同的情况下,考分越高的人表现越好。

  Cognitive skills are not the only factor in success, of course. Our own research has demonstrated that, with certain elite cohorts, like applicants for executive positions, the abilities measured by tests are still important but less so than other characteristics. This is the same phenomenon as in professional basketball, where differences in height become less important among the extremely tall. This highlights the need to assess multiple characteristics with high-quality measures.

  当然,认知技能并非决定成功的唯一因素。我们自己的研究显示,在某些精英群体中,比如高管职位的应聘者,成绩衡量的能力依然重要,但重要性已不及其他因素。这个现象也体现在了职业篮球领域:对于身材最高的一批人,身高的重要性减弱了。这凸显出我们需要高质量的衡量标准对多种因素进行评估。

  Myth: Tests Are Just Measures of Social Class

  误解三:考试成绩不过是社会阶层的反映

  Admissions tests aren’t windows into innate talent; rather, they assess skills developed over years of education. They evaluate a student’s capacity to read and interpret complex prose, think critically and reason mathematically.

  入学考试并非窥视天赋的窗口;相反,它们检验的是学生在多年的求学生涯中学到的技能,包括阅读能力、解读复杂文章的能力、批判思维能力及数学推理能力。

  Our own comprehensive look at the issue, including a review of the existing literature and analysis of several large national data sets, showed that the tests were valid even when controlling for socioeconomic class. Regardless of their family background, students with good tests scores and high-school grades do better in college than students with lower scores and weaker transcripts.

  我们在对这个问题进行全面梳理(包括对现有文献的回顾以及对几份大型全国性数据集的分析)后发现,即使对社会经济阶层这一变量加以控制,这些考试依然是有效的。不论家庭背景如何,标准化考试的分数及高中成绩高的学生在大学里的表现都更好。

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