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Can you answer this math question from a practice test for the SAT?

SAT study blogs recommend spending only about 75 seconds on each math problem, so you should set a timer.

Ready?


Here it is:

A typical image taken of the surface of Mars by a camera is 11.2 gigabits in size. A tracking station on Earth can receive data from the spacecraft at a data rate of 3 megabits per second for a maximum of 11 hours each day. If 1 gigabit equals 1,024 megabits, what is the maximum number of typical images that the tracking station could receive from the camera each day?

A) 3
B) 10
C) 56
D) 144




*You can find the answer at the bottom of this story.

Keep in mind that the numeric details here are presented in an intentionally confusing order, from which multiple equations must be extrapolated before any math can actually be done.

Give up? Timer run out? Or hey, maybe you answered it without even blinking (no judgements here ... nerd).

That question comes from the newly redesigned SAT, which will roll out in March 2016.

Millions of juniors and seniors in high school take the SAT every year with the palm-sweating hope they'll do well enough on it to at least get into their safety school. The test is, traditionally, the final word on your intelligence and scholastic acumen before you go off to college.


The second worst aisle in the book store. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Of course, there's no shortage of strongly worded arguments to the contrary, and the SAT, which was designed in the 1920s, has long been criticized for being outdated and unfair to groups such as minorities and lower-income students.

"The only persistent statistical result from the SAT is the correlation between high income and high test scores," Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, told Time magazine in 2014.

But in an apparent attempt to address the criticism that students from high-income families perform better on the SAT, the College Board might have actually made the SAT even worse.

The College Board, which makes the SAT, has updated the test to be "more focused on the skills and knowledge at the heart of education" and to more accurately reflect what students are actually learning in high school as well as what they need to succeed in college.

"College success skills?" Former College Board president Gaston Caperton in 2002. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

The SAT was also redesigned to more effectively compete with its competitor, the ACT, which has been gaining more market share since at least 2008.

With the SAT redesign comes a new set of problems.

And I'm not just talking about math problems.

Simply put, the new SAT test is wordier. There are longer and harder reading passages as well as more words in the math problems.

Experts are saying that those changes put immigrants and lower-income students at an even greater disadvantage since they might not have as much access to English-language reading as other students.


Carol McMullen-Pettit, a premier tutor at The Princeton Review, with a student in 2014. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

The College Board is countering those criticisms, of course, saying that the new SAT test contains the same amount of words in its reading sections and that the math sections contain the same percentage of word problems as before (about 30%).

Outside analysts are alleging that the way words are used on the updated SAT is what makes all the difference.

Short sentence-completion questions, for example, have been swapped out for long reading passages from prose-heavy texts like "Ethan Frome" and "Moby-Dick" or political thought pieces like John Locke's "Consent of the Governed."

Math problems have also been wrapped in more narrative, forcing students to do a higher level of reading comprehension just to figure what equation the question is really asking about.

Another math problem that took me and two other college graduates 20 minutes to solve.

And just to be clear, the SAT is supposed to be challenging. On top of that, math word problems are meant to teach extrapolation and reading comprehension as much as algebra.

However, if we want a test that's even a little bit "standard," it's going to have to take into account that some students are at a disadvantage when it comes to skills like reading comprehension.

"It’s going to change who does well," said Lee Weiss, vice president of precollege programs at Kaplan Test Prep, to The New York Times. "Before, if you were a student from a family where English was not the first language, you could really excel on the math side. It may be harder in the administration of this new test to decipher that, because there is so much text on both sides of the exam."

Whether the new SAT addresses systemic disadvantages or makes them worse remains to be seen.

"We’re going to need to see how they did, which test is going to be better, how can we weigh it," Eric J. Furda, the dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Times.

But it's hard not to feel for the kids who are currently studying and signing up to take the SAT. For the last several years, many of them have been told that it's one of the most important ingredients in their recipe for success, but in fact, the SAT is likely on its way out.

Texas A&M University, which doesn't require SAT scores for admission. Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images.

Hundreds of colleges are now going "test optional" because the SAT is so outdated.

Advocates all the way up to the president have called on schools to reduce the time spent on standardized testing, saying that it puts students under a tremendous amount of stress while failing to make them smarter.

In fact, studies have shown that SAT and ACT are not a good measure of a student's intelligence or academic potential at all. It's pretty easy to see why a test designed shortly after World War I is at best outdated and at worst dramatically unfair.

Oh, and by the way: The answer to the Mars question from the top is B) 10.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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