Students were taken by surprise by an essay prompt that asked them to write about the concept of authenticity as it relates to reality TV during the March 12 SAT exam, reports AOL News.
The prompt, which The New York Times reports began with, “Most people believe that the reality these shows portray is authentic, but they are being misled,” sparked an online conversation by the test takers on the website CollegeConfidential.com.
“I’ve never gotten such a ridiculous essay question. Hope they are lenient about it?” wrote one test taker. “Nothing would go through my head since I don’t watch reality shows. … I only vaguely know ‘Jersey Shore’ and its controversy with Italian-Americans so I chose that.”
“I never thought the Kardashians would play a role in my SAT essay, but I wrote how the Kardashians create the impression that one can be rewarded financially for doing nothing, whereas some of the most successful Americans came to this country with nothing and only saw results after years of hard work,” was the comment from another student.
Angela Garcia, executive director of the SAT program, reportedly told The New York Times the question was crafted to engage the high school student test takers.
“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.”
And there were students who were engaged by the question, which alluded to reality TV competitions like “American Idol” when asking “How authentic can these shows be when producers design challenges for the participants and then editors alter filmed scenes?”
“Dude, I thought the essay prompt was beauuuutiful,” wrote one student. “But I didn’t write about ‘Jersey Shore’ because I don’t have anything bad to say about that show. Yes, you did read that correctly. … I bashed ‘The Real World’ instead. Overall, I’m not sure how my essay went, but I did use nice vocabulary and structure.”
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