We live in a society based on numbers, whether it’s the stock market, national deficit, or one’s salary. Our world revolves so much around these figures, that, with a slight skewing of digits, entire impressions and beliefs can be changed. As obviously seen before, a “minus one thousand” on “DOW” triggers panic and hallucination, even though many of us have no idea where these numbers even come from.
Before one is emerged into the cruel depths of endless amounts of arithmetic, school is where all the numbers begin to appear. At first, everything might seem simple. I was graded between a one to four on standardized tests, and report cards, with four being the highest mark possible. As time progressed, single digits turned into double, with 65 dictating a passing, but poor, grade. These numbers mean utterly nothing to many people. Sure it “measured” the “intelligence” of an individual, but the idea of that number stressing the future of one’s future seems ludicrous. Or does it?
High schools, first and foremost, unfortunately, only take a slight peek at a junior high school transcript. (At least in New York City.) I agree: the averages tell whether a student does his homework, do well on tests, and, to an extent, show respect to teachers. However, personality and special talents are NEVER taken into consideration. This is a major flaw in the recruitment of students into higher secondary education. Do numbers truly dictate a person’s ability to write? A person’s skill in music? A person’s brilliance in science? No.
These numbers are then inflated, in worth, for colleges to see. Under most higher education profiles, according to collegeboard, states that “standardized test scores, and, essentially, the high school transcript, are the most important factors in determining one’s competence for a certain institution. Now, I agree that these numbers are extremely important, as they summarize four years worth of classes into basic numbers – which is needed since colleges receive thousands of applications every year. Still, the most hackneyed of students are accepted into great schools, while the unique are pushed into the lower brackets of education. The applicants with higher SAT scores, and averages, logically, should be accepted into grand schools, correct? Quite the contrary; as a matter of fact, I think looking at numbers is the new lazy way of rushing through an applicant pool. Clearly, looking at twenty numbers is easier than reading an entire essay. Still, one’s lacking grades CANNOT be blamed entirely on the student. Teachers, in contemporary society, have gone down in quality DRASTICALLY. Lack of reasoning, intuition, and most importantly, laziness, characterizes many teachers nationwide. As a result, numbers go down, competition still increases, and happy faces droop.
With only twenty four hours in a day, it’s impossible to filter out the worthy and unworthy. Still, I believe, if colleges want to pick the brightest of the brightest out from an applicant pool, reading opinionated writing, and even listening to an interview, is far more effective than simply searching for nineties and hundreds. Personality, perseverance, and effort come out strongest in the end.
Ten years later, I really don’t know what I might tell my children. What? Daddy’s numbers weren’t good enough for Columbia and Harvard? My number wasn’t good enough for a specialized high school? These figures come back to haunt in the future – in terms of taxes and paychecks, which, “rightfully so,” result from numbers that date back to the stone age.
In a world sadly revolved around numbers, I am Kevin Hong, reporting, trapped in a containment of arithmetic that simply won’t let me out.