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CURRENT EVENTS

College Board Releases More Details about SAT Changes
April 16, 2014
The College Board released more details about its redesigned SAT test, including 211 pages of specifications and sample items.

The SAT, redesigned in 2005, will revert to the 1600-point maximum and will have 153 questions overall (57 in mathematics, 52 in reading, and 44 in writing), down from the current 171. And the vocabulary required will be of a more real-world flavor, ending a tradition of students learning arcane words for the sole purpose of passing the test. Also more relevant will be questions and settings that require students to use algebra and knowledge of society in actual contexts (and an example of that is the sample question asking students to convert currencies in order to travel from one country to another). One sample question in the College Board's document asked students to comment on whether a political speech adequately advanced the political candidate's argument.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

The Titanic 102 Years Later

A century later, the Titanic still captivates, with its story of an "unsinkable" ocean liner on its maiden voyage striking an iceberg and sinking to the bottom of the sea early on the morning of April 15, 1912. The story has been told many times since then, in the words of survivors, in the pages of print, and on the silver screen. Much is known, including where the ship now rests on the ocean floor. Much remains unknown.

Take a closer look with these six stories:

  • Go through the details of the sinking of the Titanic, with a focus on the "how" and the "why."
  • Find out more about the passengers, who included the very famous and the very not-famous – more than a thousand people seeking a new life in the New World.Find out more about the captain – just how experienced he was and what happened to him after the iceberg struck.
  • Discover details about the ship itself, including where it was built and how much alike it was to two other star-crossed ships built by the same shipping line.
  • Get a glimpse of the discovery of the wreck, 70 years after the sinking.
  • See just how pervasive the Titanic story is in our culture.

HOLIDAYS

Passover
Passover is one of the major holidays in the Jewish tradition. It is observed beginning on the 15th day of Nissan. The festival lasts for a solid week. It is also known by the name Pesach, which comes from the Hebrew word Peh-Samech-Chet, which means "to pass over" or "to spare." This describes the origins of the holiday.

Easter
Easter is both a religious and a commercial holiday. The commercial part of this phases-of-the-moon-based holiday is all about the Easter Bunny, who brings candy to all who hope to get something sweet. This aspect of the holiday has its basis in traditions as well.

The religious aspect of the holiday is specific to Christianity. In this religion, Easter is the day on which Jesus, the Savior of Christians, was resurrected, or rose from the dead. Christianity has Good Friday as well. This is the day on which Jesus was crucified, or killed by being nailed to a wooden cross. For Christians, Easter is a time of reflection and rejoicing.

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

Lexington-Concord
The two major skirmishes that signalled the beginning of the Revolutionary War took place on April 19, 1775. It began with the famous "Shot Heard 'Round the World" and ended with a lesson in the importance of having the high ground. The result was a small lesson that would turn into a larger refrain, that the British occupation of the Eastern Seaboard was about to find its days numbered.

Harriet Tubman
The "Moses" of her people, she escorted more than 300 slaves to safety. Find out more about this extraordinary woman, who started the Underground Railroad this week in 1853.

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