Students enraged by SAT question about reality TV

Laura Donovan Contributor
Font Size:

Not all teenagers want elders to be hip and attentive to pop culture. Such was the case for the parade of SAT takers who complained that a reality television question showed up on the standardized test, reports the New York Times.

An SAT essay prompt, which asked students to explore the authenticity of reality TV, was met with elevated outrage on Internet discussion forums and comment threads. Students were frustrated to see this question on the college entrance test: “How authentic can these shows be when producers design challenges for the participants and then editors alter filmed scenes?”

“This is one of those moments when I wish I actually watched TV,” one test-taker wrote on College Confidential’s website. “I ended up talking about Jacob Riis and how any form of media cannot capture reality objectively…I kinda want to cry right now.”

Another unamused online user wrote, “I don’t watch tv at all so it was hard for me. I have no interest in reality TV shows…”

SAT program executive director, Angela Garcia said she did not think the presented essay question was unreasonable, even for students who don’t watch “Kourtney & Kim Take New York” or “The Jersey Shore.”

“The primary goal of the essay prompt is to give students an opportunity to demonstrate their writing skills,” Garcia said. “It’s really about pop culture as a reference point that they would certainly have an opinion on.”

One College Confidential commentator expressed indifference toward the prompt.

“I talked about ‘American Idol’ (how it can push people to strive towards better singing skills) and ‘The Biggest Loser’ (how it influences people to become healthier,)…Wasn’t that hard from what I thought,” the user wrote.