SAT Vocabulary Alacrity: English Vocabulary: Vocabulary Builder

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Check out: for more SAT vocabulary drills and definitions! Video Description: These SAT vocabulary videos are intended to be tools for students of English to hone their vocabulary skills. Many students and teachers question the effectiveness of standardized tests. Do they meaningfully contribute to assessments of student potential or progress? Are such assessments pedagogically or even ethically sound? Do they inherently degrade students? What socioeconomic and political forces influence which words are chosen for student evaluation? Of course, there is always the elephant in the living room: how can educators who should know better than anyone that languages are living things, that definitions are by definition fluid mutual agreements involving context, support such questionable definitions of "definition"? In my view...the voicing of which in this educational setting is perhaps anathema to Stanley Fish...these are reasonable critiques. Languages are living and definitions are fluid. A meaningful example of the transitory nature of definitions is found in the verb "treat." Within a few years, "to treat" shifted definitions from meaning, "to pay for" to "to put in ones place." The transitory essence of definitions like treat does not lend itself to meaningful evaluation by standardized tests like the SAT. My grandmother thanked me for "treating" to dinner on her 80th birthday and a waitress coworker of mine recently "treated" one of the waiters for complaining about his girlfriend so much. Furthermore, there is religious prejudice in standardized tests. The word "catholic" was presented as a synonym of "universal." "Anathema" is a word directly rooted in the religious texts of the Judeo-Christian cultures. In this sense, "standardized tests" are essentially "pseudostandardized." The assumption that their very name rests on is that there CAN be a crosscultural standardization inclusive of all socioeconomic variations. I admit...despite the cogent assertions of Stanley Fish...that I find this ludicrous. For example if you are an elderly Caucasian reading this you may not be aware of the connotations that Ludacris has infused in the word ludicrous to certain younger people. If you were told that you would be barred entry from educational institutions due to your ignorance regarding this connotation...that is, a connotation of a culture overlapping but not inclusive of your own, most of you would find the exclusion ludicrous. So how can someone who is so skeptical of the evaluative process essentially partake in it by creating videos intended to assist students who are studying for the English vocabulary section of the S.A.T.? Isn't the S.A.T. one of the most recognizable standardized tests to students across America? Isn't the S.A.T. one of the most loathed? For me, it all comes down to a word: pragmatism. The reality that I face, that hundreds of millions of American educators face...and yes, I believe there are hundreds of millions of educators in the United States...I believe that education is not limited to the classroom and "educators" not a title reserved for professional that elderly Caucasians are not nearly as functionally limited by their ignorance regarding the connotative effects of Ludacris as teenagers are limited by their ignorance of which fluid definitions are transitorily agreed upon by socioeconomically privileged people regarding infrequently used words. Therefore, I partake in the system. Which is why I make little videos to teach the teenagers studying for the SAT...and anyone with an interest to know...what most privileged people consider those transitory definitions to be. I understand I am perpetuating and endorsing a broken system as I attempt to empower people to function within it. Those are not things I am proud of. But sometimes the things we aren't proud of are our most meaningful and worthy endeavors.

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