2 Jan 2012

Can the SAT be gamed? (Part I)

Submitted by Karl Hagen
In December, the New York Times had a "Room for Debate" piece called Why Does the SAT Endure? The viewpoints expressed include those of two psychometricians, a college admissions officer, someone working for a test-prep company, and an education policy wonk. Taken together, the pieces didn't constitute much of a debate, but the introduction to the discussion poses the question of why the SAT is still around if, as its critics say, it can be gamed.
31 Dec 2011

If not this, then what?

Submitted by Karl Hagen
Standardized tests in general, and the SAT in particular, get a lot of bad press. Companies like Princeton Review build their entire marketing strategy on trash talk about how horrible the test is. Organizations like Fair Test campaign for abandoning the use of the SAT (and the ACT) in college admissions, claiming that it is both biased and ineffective.
3 Jun 2011

Hyphens are your friend

Submitted by Karl Hagen
This morning's google news served up a nice crash blossom, courtesy of the Times Daily: "Racist language bill passes" When I first saw the headline, I thought it was an editorial inveighing against some bill about language that happened to be racist, rather than a bill about racist language, which, on reading the article, I find to be the intended interpretation.
27 Mar 2011
The issue of the Oxford comma has come up several times at Language Log, with some very amusing examples of the consequences of omitting the comma before and. See this magazine cover, the October 2010 issue of Tails, isn't just missing the final comma but all the commas in the series.

It reads (linebreaks original),

EAT,
RAY,
LOVE

15 Mar 2011

Woruldhord

Submitted by Karl Hagen
Topic: 
For those interested in Old English or Anglo-Saxon culture, a fantastic resource has just been released: the Woruldhord Project. There is a lot of interesting stuff there, especially if you're teaching Old English. I found the Oxford English Faculty Exam papers particularly interesting. They illustrate the rigorous philological focus that once was the norm in the field but which now has been supplanted by other concerns.

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