The fantasy world of SATs

Are you ready? Try this:

“The comma element of the semicolon should be correct in relation to the point of origin, height, depth and orientation. Where the separation of the semicolon is excessive, neither element of the semicolon should start higher than the letter ‘I’. The dot of the semi colon must not be lower than the letter ‘w’ in the word ‘tomorrow’.”   ( Guardian 11.7.17)

Not a far-fetched satire, but actual advice offered to markers of SATs for ten-year olds. Gove, in his infinite wisdom, decides it's crucial to get ten-year olds to spot where the semi-colon should go in an artifically constructed sentence. But just pinning the tail on the donkey isn't enough; the tail has to fit in with tight requirements, and must definitely face the right way. So tons of students who actually know where the semi-colon should go will end up not getting the mark, because their semi-colon doesn't match the examiner's ideal. if we were talking about monks illuminating manuscripts it would almost make sense, but every ten-year old in the country?