There has been a cheating scandal involving many Long Island high school students. The scandal is about impersonation. Some impersonators took the SAT exam by standing in for other students for a price. The idea was to get a good SAT score for the impersonated students.
With the cheating having been exposed, new rules of identification has been mooted by ETS, the organization that conducts the SAT exams. The change in rules will be effective in the fall. Following is the gist of the changes that will take effect:
(a) Students will have to upload or mail their photographs. Their photographs will be imprinted on the admission tickets and the roster of the test center. This will enable quick comparison of the student taking the exam with the photo on the roster.
(b) The college aspirants taking SAT or ACT will have to identify their high schools. The high schools will also receive the scores along with the test-takers’ photograph. Suspicious scores could be easily identified by the high schools.
(c) The test-takers will also have to provide their gender and date of birth. This is to obviate impersonators taking exams on behalf of students with gender neutral names.
(d) Standby test registration is being done away with. If a student’s name is not on the roster of the exam center, he/she will not be allowed to take the test.
(e) Students will have to certify their identity in writing and will have to acknowledge that they are aware of possible prosecution in case of impersonation.
There was also a proposal to forward the students’ photos to the colleges as well. But this has been put on hold owing to fears that the admission process could be unduly swayed by extraneous reasons.
No one is sticking his neck out to say that with the new procedure the process is going to become foolproof but most agree that there will definitely be a vast improvement over the existing process. That said, the next thing to address is to eliminate collaboration and copying inside test centers so that the admission process becomes absolutely fair.
It may come as a shock that a lot of folks aren’t able to read the Time magazine. Why? Because they are hamstrung by their limited vocabulary.
Let’s take the case of Time magazine’s May 25, 2009 Asia Pacific edition. In this edition we came across the following thirty six words among others:
I am sure you are familiar with some of the words given here. While, with a few others you may well guess the meanings from its usage and context. Still, you may well draw a blank with the remaining few. Remember that this is an Asia Pacific avatar of the magazine published in the US. Research has shown that most people will have difficulty with close to 120 words in the US edition of this magazine. That is why, people inconvenienced by ordinary vocabulary, may well gloss over the Time but may not actually read it.
So, how much are we missing out because our vocabulary happens to be high school level? A large chunk of our world, I would say. If a popular magazine has a few words that you don’t understand, think what you are missing out. Add up the articulation that goes into pedagogical works and treatises. Yes, there is a whole lot that is out of your reach.
‘So how do I improve my vocabulary’, you may ask. Vocabulary building is serious stuff. You have to do it methodically, systematically and with a clear goal and time-line.
Vocabletics, the website that facilitates adaptive learning, will help you with the method and system. The timeline and goal are clearly in your own private domain.
Have you ever wondered about the longest word in the English language? I grew curious after I heard the word lymphosarcoma. Actually, Amitabh Bachhan of Bollywood famously diagnosed Rajesh Khanna with ‘lymphosarcoma of the intestine’ in a touching Bollywood movie called ‘Anand’. That’s how I came to know about lymphosarcoma.
It turns out that the longest word in the English language depends upon what words form part of your investigation. Are you including only such words that are derived naturally from the language’s roots? Are you allowing words that have been formed by coinage and construction? Are you considering place names and technical terms? Now, technical terms can be as long as you want. Also, the units of measurement can even differ. Length can be measured by the number of written letters in a word or the number of phonemes in that word.Here is a table giving out longest words with various criteria of measure:
Longest words in English
Let’s take the longest nontechnical coined word, floccinaucinihilipilification. (I chose this criterion because technical words can be as long as you wish, for eg, zzzzzzyyyyyyxxxxxyyyyyyyyuuuuttttttttppppppp, etc)Do you know what floccinaucinihilipilification means? I didn’t till I found out from wiki. It means ‘estimation of something as worthless’. Well, if a 29 letter word ‘estimates something as worthless’ then the appropriate synonym for such a word would be makeamountainoutaofamolehill.
I am sure you know the shortest word(s) in English. I … a … burrrrp, excuse me, needn’t burp it out.
It is official! You need to keep your heart nice and ticki
ng to keep your vocabulary warm. A research done by Dr Manoux and others in mid 2009 on “History of coronary disease and cognitive performance in midlife: The Whitehall II study”, suggests that there is ‘an association betweenCHD histo
In this study, as part of evaluating the Cognitive Function, Vocabulary was assessed using the Mill Hill Vocabulary Test, used in its multiple format. The Mill Hill test is a vocabulary test which was devised by JC Raven in the fifties to determine the level of verbal information a person has acquired as a result of intellectual activity in the past. Dr Manoux’s test consisted of a list of 33 stimulus words ordered by increasing difficulty and these words had six responses to choose from. Typically, heart disease manifests itself in midlife. To establish correlation between heart disease and cognition, the participants of this study were chosen from British civil servants aged between 35 to 55 years of age.
The salient finding of the study was that, that not only was there an association between coronary heart disease (CHD) and lower cognitive scores in men and women, but also increasingly poor cognitive scores with increase in the duration of the CHD. This means that if I have CHD since 10 years as opposed to another person who had it since 5 years, I am more likely to fair poorly in cognitive scores.
The takeaway from this study is that you may be a vocab champ now, but if you neglect your heart’s well being, you are likely to forfeit that position in your middle age.