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  #1  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:26 AM
Morgenstern Morgenstern is offline
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Sarah Palin's SAT scores.

First of all, there is no way to verify that these are in fact Sarah's scores and not a photoshopped fake of the same.

Lat's assume, for this thread, that they are true. If these are truly her scores, what do they tell us? What do the numbers represent?

425 Verbal
416 Math.

http://buzzfeed.com/scott/sarah-palins-sat-scores
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:29 AM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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If the number are true, it supports that she is not especially bright or near the best. It supports that she is not the type of person that should be Governor or VP if you are the type that think leaders should be brighter than normal.

Basically it confirms that she average at best.
  #3  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:32 AM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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Originally Posted by What Exit? View Post
Basically it confirms that she average at best.
Seriously? Because those scores are TERRIBLE. I did WAY better than that in math, and I am really, really terrible at math.

But it's probably not real. I mean, where would you get such a thing?
  #4  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:34 AM
storyteller0910 storyteller0910 is offline
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Originally Posted by What Exit? View Post
If the number are true, it supports that she is not especially bright or near the best. It supports that she is not the type of person that should be Governor or VP if you are the type that think leaders should be brighter than normal.

Basically it confirms that she average at best.

I will argue that it supports only the proposition that she is not especially good at taking the SATs. While I don't think she's particularly bright, these scores, in and of themselves, aren't really evidence of that. Her comments, positions, and history are another matter, of course.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:34 AM
ErinPuff ErinPuff is offline
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Were SAT scores ever not only multiples of 10?
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:37 AM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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Originally Posted by ErinPuff View Post
Were SAT scores ever not only multiples of 10?
Yeah, they were at one point, although it was before I ever took them in the mid-90s. Something I learned on the SDMB.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:37 AM
Half Man Half Wit Half Man Half Wit is offline
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So, can somebody explain this SAT business to a foreigner? What would be good, what average, what the maximum? What's the role of the SAT in the US?
  #8  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:39 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgenstern View Post
First of all, there is no way to verify that these are in fact Sarah's scores and not a photoshopped fake of the same.

Lat's assume, for this thread, that they are true. If these are truly her scores, what do they tell us? What do the numbers represent?

425 Verbal
416 Math.

http://buzzfeed.com/scott/sarah-palins-sat-scores
There is a way to confirm it.

SAT scores at the time always ended in '0'. No one who took the test in 1981/82 would get a 425 verbal. 420 or 430 would be the score. Same for math.

My scores in 1980 were 710 math and 740 verbal. That was the second test; the first time I took it was the previous spring, with 660 and 670 respectively. (I remember all these scores clearly because of a bet I had with K--- W---, who beat me the first time with a 1350, and then beat me the second time with a 1460. I couldn't win.

Last edited by Bricker; 10-10-2008 at 11:43 AM..
  #9  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:42 AM
hajario hajario is offline
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SAT scores at the time always ended in '0'. No one who took the test in 1981/82 would get a 425 verbal. 420 or 430 would be the score. Same for math.
We're about the same age and I concur. Coincidentally, I saw my Mom last weekend and she handed me a large envelope that she found with a bunch of my old high school report cards and such including my SAT scores.
  #10  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:47 AM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
So, can somebody explain this SAT business to a foreigner? What would be good, what average, what the maximum? What's the role of the SAT in the US?
Scholastic Aptitude Test - up until recently, 1600 was the highest you could score, but they added a section, so now it's 2400 max. I seem to recall being told that you were given 200 points just for taking the test.

When I took mine in the early 70s, without benefit of any prep courses, I got 670 on both Math and Verbal, for a combined score of 1340. I eventually got a degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, so I guess the score indicated I had the aptitude to survive college.

Colleges and universities used to use these scores to predict your ability to handle higher education, although lately, some don't seem to care. But I suppose you need some sort of criteria for deciding who gets the available slots in a school.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:52 AM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
So, can somebody explain this SAT business to a foreigner? What would be good, what average, what the maximum? What's the role of the SAT in the US?
They just changed it last year (maybe two years ago?) so now it's different, but for ages and ages, the top score has been 800 and the bottom...200? Average varies from test date to test date. (When I was in high school, there would be one test date per month, I think, for the entire country. You'd send in your info and a check and they'd assign you a local high school to take it at. Now I expect it's computerized and you can take it every day of the week, which is how the GRE is.)

FWIW, I got a 510 on math, which was in the 50th percentile IIRC, but is pretty lousy for someone actually planning to go to a four year university, and balanced it out with a 690 in verbal, which was something like the 98th percentile.
  #12  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:52 AM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is online now
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Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
What's the role of the SAT in the US?
They're to show that you have a minimum level of schooling, sufficient to get into at least a low-quality college.

Past entry into college, they're mostly used by people who want to brag about how smart they were in high school, rather than how well or poorly they've done since then.

If this is all true, then high scores on the SAT have little influence on one's ability to be elected mayor or governor, in Alaska, anyway.

Not sure what they mean about the ability to get John McCain elected President.
  #13  
Old 10-10-2008, 12:05 PM
Miss Woodhouse Miss Woodhouse is offline
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Photoshopped and meaningless besides. How you tested on a college prep standardized test has very little real life meaning after the age of 22.

I didn't test terribly well on the SATs and scored very well on the ACT. It means squat now because I've already got my BA degree.
  #14  
Old 10-10-2008, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Kyla View Post
Seriously? Because those scores are TERRIBLE. I did WAY better than that in math, and I am really, really terrible at math.

But it's probably not real. I mean, where would you get such a thing?
I recall that low 900s were average in the early 80s. The numbers were inflated in the 90s I believe and then changed a few more times.
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Originally Posted by ErinPuff View Post
Were SAT scores ever not only multiples of 10?
That is a great point. I never actually thought about the fact that SATs where multiples of 10. I'll believe Bricker when he says they always ended in 0s then.

As to what it shows, a below average SAT is not what I would want to see in a potential President. I stand by my statement. We should want our Presidents to from among the best. I would think someone below a 900 in 1982 is not really a choice from the best.
  #15  
Old 10-10-2008, 12:57 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is online now
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Here are the percentile charts. http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_dow...hnicGroups.pdf

Here is what they mean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAT
  #16  
Old 10-10-2008, 01:14 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is online now
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I've revised the thread title so people can either participate in or avoid this thread, knowing it's about candidate Palin instead of someone's kid or niece or something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgenstern View Post
If these are truly her scores, what do they tell us? What do the numbers represent?
They'd primarily measure her ability to take standardized tests. You could use them as part of a case that she was a poor student - the fact that she later went to six colleges doesn't really point in her favor - but so what? She took the test 25 years ago and if she was a bad student then, she would appear to be a much more dedicated person today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FairyChatMom
I seem to recall being told that you were given 200 points just for taking the test.
It's not really a "gift" so much as a function of the scale on which the test is graded, I think.
  #17  
Old 10-10-2008, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by What Exit? View Post
I recall that low 900s were average in the early 80s. The numbers were inflated in the 90s I believe and then changed a few more times.

That is a great point. I never actually thought about the fact that SATs where multiples of 10. I'll believe Bricker when he says they always ended in 0s then.

As to what it shows, a below average SAT is not what I would want to see in a potential President. I stand by my statement. We should want our Presidents to from among the best. I would think someone below a 900 in 1982 is not really a choice from the best.
When I took them in 1968/69 they did not end in 0. My verbal score didn't. I worked in the College office of my high school, and distributed them to the students, and they certainly didn't then. I don't know when they changed it - a quick Google showed nothing.

SAT scores are not supposed to predict how you do in life, only how you will do in college. If she did wander through five, I'd say they did a good job in this case - assuming they are correct, which might be a stretch.
  #18  
Old 10-10-2008, 01:32 PM
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Looking at the image, did people really self report their grades in 1982? I'm pretty sure we didn't. Score reports in 1968, by the way arrived at a high school as a fanfold set of labels from a line printer, each of which had to be removed and pasted onto a book which explained what the scores meant.
  #19  
Old 10-10-2008, 01:52 PM
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Mine were rounded to 10 in 1976. I'm not a Palin fan, but these are shopped.
  #20  
Old 10-10-2008, 01:55 PM
hajario hajario is offline
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Looking at the image, did people really self report their grades in 1982?
There were all sorts of weird things that you self reported. I was going to shred all of that crap that my Mom gave me in that file but luckily I didn't. I'll tell you all about it when I get back home in a few hours. I took the SAT twice, late '81 and early '82.
  #21  
Old 10-10-2008, 02:28 PM
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The SATs/GREs went from any last digit to multiples of ten in the early 70s.

I think these are the SATs of a person who is not only fairly dumb SAT-scorewise, but also too dumb to make a good fake.

(I'd still like to see the candidates' real SATs though.)
  #22  
Old 10-10-2008, 03:02 PM
jay-c jay-c is offline
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I don't doubt that it's Photoshopped, and I'm no fan of Palin. However, a commenter on that site mentions the possiblility that "SAT" stands for Stanford Achievement Test ( is a standardized battery of tests designed to measure school achievement from Kindergarten through Grade 12). It was formerly known as the SAT, but is now more commonly referred to as either the Stanford or the SAT followed by the edition number, for example Stanford 10 or SAT 10 because it was often confused with the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Anyone know whether Alaska used the Stanford Achievement Test, or how the scoring worked on it back then?
  #23  
Old 10-10-2008, 03:03 PM
ivylass ivylass is offline
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When was the SAT implemented? Aren't Biden and McCain too old to have taken it?

I'm roughly the same age as Palin (40s) and I took the SAT three times. Each time the score ended in 0.

Last edited by ivylass; 10-10-2008 at 03:05 PM..
  #24  
Old 10-10-2008, 04:22 PM
Max Torque Max Torque is online now
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I think I found the original.

Look at this entry from a woman's blog, dated 2004: High School Confidential. Read down a bit, and you'll see that she posted a scan of her old SAT results; click the image or here for the bigger picture.

Now, compare that picture with the supposed "Palin results". Interesting, eh? First, the scanned copies are at exactly the same angle, not perfectly square with the scanner's edge. The "blocked out" bits for both copies are identical: look at the "telephone number" space, for example. The remaining dot clutter is absolutely identical in both images. The dates are identical, except that "85" was changed to "82". Interesting that the "report date" of both tests would be March 23rd; in 1985, the date on the real results form, that was a Saturday, which is a typical day for SAT testing. In 1982, the date on Palin's photoshopped form, March 23rd was a Tuesday. And the real form has the same 5-3-3-1-2-3 that appears on the altered form, in precisely the same spots in the boxes.

A few things are covered over and the form in general is blurred up some to make it look "authentic" or something, but seriously, I think this is the original scan that someone altered. Take a closer look, see if you agree. And I say all of this as someone who couldn't possibly dislike Sarah Palin any more than I already do.
  #25  
Old 10-10-2008, 04:46 PM
Bricker Bricker is online now
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I think I found the original.
Damn good detective work. I agree with your findings, Inspector Torque!
  #26  
Old 10-10-2008, 05:04 PM
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And if further proof were needed...

The faker obviously sought to portray Palin as an idiot, and so her "self-reported" grades were low: B, C, D, B, C, and C for a GPA of 2.2 -- pretty mediocre.

But that couldn't have been Palin's GPA, because she was a member of the National Honor Society, which required at the time (and still does, I imagine) a 3.5 minimum GPA.
  #27  
Old 10-10-2008, 05:30 PM
hajario hajario is offline
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I just pulled out my form. I took the SAT twice, in January and May, 1981. Sarah and I graduated from HS in the same year she probably would have also taken her SAT the year before. The form at least is correct. Mine is exactly the same.

As for the "self reporting," the whole bottom part of the form isn't shown in the link. We were asked to rank ourselves for all sorts of things like math, scientific, sales, acting and writing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
Past entry into college, they're mostly used by people who want to brag about how smart they were in high school, rather than how well or poorly they've done since then.
So true. Until I saw my old scores last week for the first time in 25 years, I couldn't have told you what my scores were on a bet. There are all kinds of middle aged losers who still put National Merit Scholar (top 1% or something on the SAT) on their resumes. It's the equivalent of bragging about your High School football performance.
  #28  
Old 10-10-2008, 05:34 PM
Bam Boo Gut Bam Boo Gut is offline
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So, can somebody explain this SAT business to a foreigner? What would be good, what average, what the maximum? What's the role of the SAT in the US?
BooKid got 9 CXE at age 16 - these are the old 'O' (ordinary) levels - after this you leave school. She did a year of sixth form college completed one CAPE (A levels) and did the first year of three others. These are Caribbean qualifications, but based on the English system. Last Saturday she did the SAT. It seems to be equivalent to the CXE to me, but there are only maths & english - two parts english for 800 each and one part maths for 800. I would expect her to get between 1200 and 1500 (she's crap at maths). Although it is a requirement for college entrance in the US, they also requested her CAPE transcripts and CXE results. I'm gonna warn her, if her score is low she's going to end up being governor of Alaska and will have to put lipstick on the dog or something......
  #29  
Old 10-10-2008, 05:44 PM
Bam Boo Gut Bam Boo Gut is offline
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There's a lot of multiple choice in it and she said it's fairly fast paced. It's one exam with several papers totalling about 4 hours. I think it's a fair test for people who are good at taking exams. I was good at taking exams in my day and got much better results than some of the real brains of the class.
  #30  
Old 10-10-2008, 10:27 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Originally Posted by Kyla View Post

FWIW, I got a 510 on math, which was in the 50th percentile IIRC, but is pretty lousy for someone actually planning to go to a four year university, and balanced it out with a 690 in verbal, which was something like the 98th percentile.
On the other hand, I don't think a 'just average' math score is a serious impediment in getting into a decent university. It just means you're not going be majoring in math or science, or engineering and so on. Liberal arts majors will generally not need any math beyond a first-year calculus course that allows them to breeze through the subject on in intuitive level without having to rigorously understand the derivation of the standard formulas. I know, because I went through that. On the other hand, when in after years I got my math-foo up and running a little better, I went back over some of the rudimentary proofs of calculus, because I now knew enough algebra to do so. I was sorry to have missed out on it before. It is a beautiful subject.
  #31  
Old 10-10-2008, 10:45 PM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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On the other hand, when in after years I got my math-foo up and running a little better, I went back over some of the rudimentary proofs of calculus, because I now knew enough algebra to do so. I was sorry to have missed out on it before. It is a beautiful subject.
As it happens, I have displeased the math gods and am taking calculus for the first time ever right now. (I'm back in school doing a masters degree.)

I am NOT enjoying it.
  #32  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:31 PM
Jenaroph Jenaroph is offline
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It also looks like you displeased the multi-post gods somewhere along the line...
  #33  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:44 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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As it happens, I have displeased the math gods and am taking calculus for the first time ever right now. (I'm back in school doing a masters degree.)

I am NOT enjoying it.
This post is as good as any of the three, to answer.

To be honest, I found the memorization part hard. A lot of it does make sense once you know the algebra behind it, and then seems like simple logic. On the other hand, I had a great deal of trouble with all the details like critical points, and remembering why transcendentals differentiate and integrate the way they do. As a result, I would often flub problems on tests, for example by misremembering the formula for differentiating a composite trigonometric function. I could read through and understand the proofs of many of these things, but would then have to read it again an hour later.

I don't think I ever understood when you would need to use Newton's method.

What is your master's degree going to be in?

Last edited by Spectre of Pithecanthropus; 10-10-2008 at 11:46 PM..
  #34  
Old 10-11-2008, 12:00 AM
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I highly doubt that this is real. Even if it was...

To use my wife as an example- she did poorly on her SAT's and college out of High School. Ten years later- she is back at college and doing very well. Some people just need some time to grow. So, I don't read too much into it.

To me SAT's only had the purpose of attempting to get into college. Beyond that, they are pretty worthless- unless you did well then you got to be a jerk about it.

I recall 1000 being the goal score to get into a "good" school. For the record, I got 1200. I don't remember the breakdown, but they were both really close with my math score being slightly higher. Like 570, 630 or something really close to that.
  #35  
Old 10-11-2008, 12:16 AM
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I don't like Sarah Palin at all. Most of her policy positions are diametrically opposed to mine, and I don't think she's remotely qualified for the office of Vice President.

That said, even if this were accurate, and Max Torque has provided convincing evidence that it's fraudulent, SATs measure how well you do on standardized tests and very little more.
  #36  
Old 10-11-2008, 12:26 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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I don't know if this is genuine or not, but I just want to say that I completely reject the canard that SAT scores are not a fairly reliable indicator of base intelligence.Smart people do fine on them and stupid people don't. That's just a fact. It's true that average or dull people can be taught to do better, but I don't buy for a second that bright people will bomb out on them. Smart people already intuitively understand all those tips thay are used to coach stupid people.

Last edited by Diogenes the Cynic; 10-11-2008 at 12:27 AM..
  #37  
Old 10-11-2008, 12:27 AM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Torque View Post
I think I found the original.

Look at this entry from a woman's blog, dated 2004: High School Confidential. Read down a bit, and you'll see that she posted a scan of her old SAT results; click the image or here for the bigger picture.

Now, compare that picture with the supposed "Palin results". Interesting, eh? First, the scanned copies are at exactly the same angle, not perfectly square with the scanner's edge. The "blocked out" bits for both copies are identical: look at the "telephone number" space, for example. The remaining dot clutter is absolutely identical in both images. The dates are identical, except that "85" was changed to "82". Interesting that the "report date" of both tests would be March 23rd; in 1985, the date on the real results form, that was a Saturday, which is a typical day for SAT testing. In 1982, the date on Palin's photoshopped form, March 23rd was a Tuesday. And the real form has the same 5-3-3-1-2-3 that appears on the altered form, in precisely the same spots in the boxes.

A few things are covered over and the form in general is blurred up some to make it look "authentic" or something, but seriously, I think this is the original scan that someone altered. Take a closer look, see if you agree. And I say all of this as someone who couldn't possibly dislike Sarah Palin any more than I already do.
So you're saying that the McCain campaign faked Sarah's academic records?
  #38  
Old 10-11-2008, 12:41 AM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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What is your master's degree going to be in?
Public policy. People keep asking me why I have to take calculus for public policy, but policy analysts need to know about math. And Michigan Public Policy is famous (well, in policy circles) for its strong quantitative component. (It's the #1 ranked policy analysis school in the country.) Which I knew I needed work on. But it's HARD. And I haven't taken a math class in forever and keep making stupid algebra mistakes.

BTW, I knew about all those multiposts, but the board kept timing out when I tried to edit them. Gah. Thanks to whoever cleaned that up.

Last edited by Kyla; 10-11-2008 at 12:42 AM..
  #39  
Old 10-11-2008, 05:30 AM
Half Man Half Wit Half Man Half Wit is offline
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Thanks for explaining, everyone!
  #40  
Old 10-11-2008, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
So you're saying that the McCain campaign faked Sarah's academic records?
I came back to retract my previous thought on the person who faked this, and my new thoughts relate to this. There have been several instances in recent decades of a campaign sending out obviously fake bad info on their own candidate so that when the real info comes out, people will believe that it is faked as well.

I now think this is disinformation.
  #41  
Old 10-11-2008, 08:06 AM
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I don't like Sarah Palin at all. Most of her policy positions are diametrically opposed to mine, and I don't think she's remotely qualified for the office of Vice President.

That said, even if this were accurate, and Max Torque has provided convincing evidence that it's fraudulent, SATs measure how well you do on standardized tests and very little more.
Concurrence here. I had great SAT scores (ending in 0's); have achieved nothing in life. Some very smart people don't do well on standardized tests.

Anyway, I don't think Palin is actually stupid; I think she, like GWB, has narrowed her view of the world and the way she thinks about it, in a way that dead-ends intellectual paths that lead too far away from her various agendas.
  #42  
Old 10-11-2008, 08:14 AM
Baldwin Baldwin is offline
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I came back to retract my previous thought on the person who faked this, and my new thoughts relate to this. There have been several instances in recent decades of a campaign sending out obviously fake bad info on their own candidate so that when the real info comes out, people will believe that it is faked as well.

I now think this is disinformation.
Sure as Hell wouldn't put it past Rove.
  #43  
Old 10-12-2008, 10:56 PM
Max Torque Max Torque is online now
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Ha! This is too funny. I got cited at Daily Kos as the one who "cracked the case". Neat!

A few people asked how I found it, and the story really couldn't be any more mundane. Basically, the score sheet looked fake to me, so I did a Google image search for "SAT results" to see if they even got the general look of the score sheet correct. On the first page of results was the image from Dawn Eden's blog, posted in 2004; as I recall, it was the only actual image of an SAT score sheet that turned up from the search, so I went right to it. And when I pulled it up, it was pretty obviously the very same sheet that had been altered. So, not exactly a power-sleuth move on my part; the hoaxer was just so dumb that he used the most-easily-located SAT score sheet image on the web.
  #44  
Old 10-12-2008, 10:59 PM
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Good Job master net sleuth! You make up proud!

Last edited by astro; 10-12-2008 at 11:00 PM..
  #45  
Old 10-24-2010, 06:43 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Because this thread was initiated due to Palin's SAT scores, made known two years ago, I'm going to close this thread as potentially confusing due to its title.

Anyone who wants to continue the discussion is welcome to start a new thread, "Sarah Palin's SAT Score Discussion Redux", or whatever.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus

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Last edited by Spectre of Pithecanthropus; 10-24-2010 at 07:02 PM..
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