DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - A Georgia teacher is doing battle with the College Board that gives the PSAT and SAT exams.
Arnita Johnson told Channel 2’s Diana Davis that her students were required to write part of the PSAT in cursive. She says that was the toughest part of the college prep test for many of her students and she’s worried it may affect their results.
“I write in cursive but, again, I have to read it to them,” Johnson said.
Johnson has taught chemistry at Douglas County High School for nearly 30 years.
The College Board required students to write a 29-word certification statement in cursive, not block letters. One student said it was the hardest part of the test.
The College Board issued the following clarification:
“As part of pretesting activities, students will copy and sign a short statement acknowledging that they agree to the PSAT/NMSQT test regulations. This is to ensure fairness of the test and validity of the scores for everyone. Students should write in cursive (not print) and sign their statement in pencil. Students who aren’t sure how to write in script should do the best they can. Allow 5–10 minutes for this activity.”
Johnson wrote to the College Board to complain, saying students should be able to write in block letters since many haven’t used cursive in years.
“When I wrote then, they wrote back, ‘Well, it’s only one sentence. Twenty-nine words,” Johnson said.
Georgia Common Core does require cursive writing – it’s taught in third and fourth grade.
A statement from the Georgia Department of Education says, in part:
“While it may not be a requirement later, many of our schools across the state continue teaching cursive writing in multiple ways.”
Johnson says she isn’t against cursive, but says it should be practiced throughout student’s entire school career if it’s going to be required for the PSAT and SAT.
“An understanding of cursive allows students to write quickly when it is necessary to write with pen and paper, to hone their fine motor skills and to read historical documents that were written in cursive,” Georgia’s Department of Education says.