Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Perfect Score Project by Debbie Stier

This book, The Perfect Score Project, is subtitled, "One mother's journey to uncover the secrets of the SAT." Okay, I guess that does summarize the book. Thinking of a subtitle I'd give the book--maybe more along the lines of "a mother with lots of empty time and energy on her hands becomes obsessed with the SAT and addicted to pursuing a higher score." I think that subtitle maybe does not show my complete annoyance with the book, but might hint at it.

The author, Debbie Stier, had decided to help her son (who she thinks is not serious enough about academics) get a great score on the SAT. The method she chose was to try out various test-preparation strategies and earn herself a perfect score, helping him along the way. She spends her year trying out many many many many tutors, programs, ideas, and etc. in the quest to up her score. She immerses her life in the SAT. Now, I'm not talking a few, not talking getting tips, I'm talking crazy. Obsessed? Beyond. Really.

I'm sure you've discovered by this time that I was not thrilled with this book. There are so many reasons why. One of them is that it is hard for me to understand someone who lives the life (of a single mom, even!!) that allows them to spend so much time, energy, mental strength, money, etc. on such a single-minded pursuit of a high SAT score. Really?? She does mention that she has some issues with her relationships with her teenagers, which are apparently resolved by the last chapter, but--priorities! Way different than my priorities, I guess.

Another issue is that of standardized testing in general. Things like how accurate is standardized testing, who is it intended to reward. Much of her preparation work seemed to center on trying to figure out how to beat the tricky-ness of the test and its questions (sorry if that's not a word!) So, the point of the test is. . .? When the "A" in the SAT stood for "aptitude" I guess that went along with it. Now?

Apparently (not mentioned in her book) the SAT is going through a major change to begin in the spring of 2016--not sure how much of her advice/ideas/information will be un-applicable at that point.

Unfortunately, the book was even boring to me. It was slow and awkward with all the insets.

Before I began reading this book, I was excited to read it. I have a high-schooler, so we will be joining the ranks of SAT takers soon enough, and I was interested in the inside view; however, this view was just too much. I want my children to be educated to do well in life, be ready for a variety of experiences, both academic and pragmatic. I don't want their learning to be tunneled into how to pass the standardized test.

I received this book through a book review program. For that reason I read the entire book. That was the only reason. Had I picked it up a the library I would have returned it unfinished. I really don't recommend this book. I just found it annoying, weird, and boring! I guess you have figured out by now that I wouldn't recommend it.

I received this book for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.