Dear tutoring sites, your tests are classist, racist and also ableist

Dear Tutoring sites, I would like the opportunity to retake the SAT Reading test. I am asking to retake it because within the test itself I found spelling errors.
On passage #2, paragraph #2 (Email Checking) there is a grammar error/word omission. It says at the end of the first sentence “…in order to do their effectively”. It should say “…in order to do their job effectively.” The error on this test proves that humans are fallible.
Giving adults who are tutors and teachers only 1 (one) chance to take a test they can practice for and improve on is indeed ineffective. Creating the “one time rule” also create a large amount of stress and frustration. It sets a potential teacher/tutor up for failure not just on the outside in society, but on the inside. It makes us feel like we are incapable of reaching a goal.
I also found the question answer options to be very redundant. A few answers even said the exact same thing. So you have 4 options, and two of them say the same thing…where is the variety in that? Where is the diversity and where is the metacognition that is necessary to thoroughly answer the question?
When the question is “what is the purpose of this piece”, it is important to understand that depending on the background of the person taking the test, the purpose WILL vary. I am not saying there is no “right” answer, I am saying the answers should be vastly different in order to point out the closest proper response.
I do not believe this is a good way to test adults for tutoring elementary, middle, and High School Students.
A resume and CV should suffice. Many adults struggle to take online tests. Many have either ADD or ADHD and therefore become very fidgety and nervous when it comes to official and formal test taking. Forcing an adult to “prove” their ability to teach by scoring a 75% or above on an online test is degrading. Especially an online test with errors in it. Adults are being treated like students and being told that if you can’t score a passing percent, then you can’t teach. Essentially saying you are not smart enough to offer support for this subject matter.
I also believe that knowing a subject does NOT make you a good teacher. Someone may know about math but have zero ability to actually teach math. And yet on your tutoring site, knowing a subject matter seems to automatically give you access to children so that you can teach them? This does not make any sense to me and it is actually damaging.
I taught for 12 years (grades 2-12) and received awards for being an excellent teacher. There were times I had to look up information and learn alongside my students. THAT makes a good tutor/teacher-not a set of questions you have to score an 80% on.
I’ve taken several tests here and though I’ve passed many, there have been a few that I have failed. Failing a test with no second or third chance is not motivation for improvement. I understand tests dealing with spelling, grammar, and also language, but content tests are extremely subjective. Content tests also really depend on environment.
The SATs in fact are getting up to speed with this concept. They are realizing and understanding that when you post a question about traffic lights, not every student will even understand what traffic lights are. For instance, if we have a student from a country where traffic lights are not common, we can’t expect them to be able to answer the question accurately.
There are even instances where questions talk about Health. We have many students who have not had health class; it was just never taught in their High School so the SAT’s are being more sensitive to their needs.
According to USA Today College, the SATs have made over 10 changes. One I am going to note has to do with obscure vocabulary. It now focuses on functional vocabulary used in context. On your test for adults you asked a question about Cache….cache has different definitions and the options given were very confusing. One of the choices was “The Method”….what? What kind of choice option is that when in the text it says THE METHOD was the name of one of Archimedes’s piece on calculus (if i remember correctly).
The other change I’d like to highlight is the use of text that is similar to what they would find in school. Again, the traffic light example….if there are no traffic lights in their country, there will probably be no questions about traffic lights for them.
The last change I will focus on is how the reading section is now focused on evidence. It provides you with a prompt and then asks which piece of evidence best supports the text. This is a lot easier to comprehend than having a 4 paragraph text with questions that are redundant in and of itself.
We know of many mathematicians who can calculate large numbers in their heads but in the classroom make kids cry. They can’t teach. According to your company, if they pass the test, they are allowed to tutor/teach.
My point is this. Teachers and tutors are not teachers and tutors because they score a 75% on an exam. They are teachers and tutors because they have a passion to learn and impart what they have learned to their students. They are teachers and tutors because they are open to sharing the knowledge they acquire through experience to others. They are teachers and tutors because they want to impact an individual.
Taking a test does not make you a teacher or a tutor. Passing a test only means you know it in your head, but it does not guarantee you can pass it on and teach it to others.
Please reconsider opening tests not just for me as a teacher but for all the others who have failed. Please consider giving me and also anyone else more chances. Being a good tutor and a good teacher means you are open to learning. It shouldn’t mean shutting down an area where you can improve.
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6 Responses to Dear tutoring sites, your tests are classist, racist and also ableist

  1. Great article. My website solves your issue with wyzant. We are still growing, so tutors in the Long Island/ New York City area can be listed on for free!!!

  2. What sites are you referring to? On my website you can list yourself for free. Right now we are only listing tutors in the New York City /Long Island area. No test required.

  3. Teaching evolves with time and sometimes I think that the tests set my schools are not the best parameters to ascertain one’s intelligence. Well-articulated post.

    I would like to invite you to a blog party to network with others.

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