Saturday’s SAT Test-Takers Visit Reality (TV) Before Heading to College

jersey shoreYou might say you’ve never watched The Jersey Shore, but you’re probably lying.  In fact, not only have you “accidentally” watched half an episode because nothing else was on, but you just can’t believe Ronnie and Sammi are at it again or how much Snooki seriously loves pickles.

Jersey Shore and countless other reality TV shows–Teen Mom, American Idol, Real Housewives, Top Chef etc.–are undoubtedly popular shows among college-bound students, but should they be referenced in an SAT exam?

According to the New York Time’s The Choice blog, March 12th’s SAT test-takers were treated to a writing prompt questioning the boundaries of reality TV.

Some believe that this prompt was biased and that SAT prompts almost never reference popular culture.  One commenter on the blog wrote: “I bought the College Board Official SAT Prep book, both the first and second editions, and none of the essay topics provided in those books had ever given a reference to pop culture.”

The prompt, as provided by College Board read:

Reality television programs, which feature real people engaged in real activities rather than professional actors performing scripted scenes, are increasingly popular.

These shows depict ordinary people competing in everything from singing and dancing to losing weight, or just living their everyday lives. Most people believe that the reality these shows portray is authentic, but they are being misled.

How authentic can these shows be when producers design challenges for the participants and then editors alter filmed scenes?

Do people benefit from forms of entertainment that show so-called reality, or are such forms of entertainment harmful?

Do you think student test-takers were at a disadvantage if they actually have never or rarely watch reality tv?  Or, do you believe the pop culture reference was fair game with enough context?

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