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Letters to the Editor

Welcomed Progress

“Freshmen Do Worse on ’05 FEE” [The Tech, Friday, Sept. 23, 2005] brought back a vivid memory of a discussion with Les Perelman in the fall of 1988. I held that my score of 5 on the Advanced Placement Literature Exam should have qualified me for passing credit on the Freshmen Essay Evaluation. Contrary to his acknowledgment in your article that “literature review skills are more useful for MIT students than narrative,” his explanation at the time was that the literature exam tested one’s ability to analyze literature, not one’s ability to write an essay. My response was that a poorly written literary analysis would never earn a score of five, but I was still asked to prove my writing skills by taking the FEE.

I’m glad that seventeen years after my own FEE experience, MIT sees the value in having a literary component to the essay exam and awards credit for either the AP Language or Literature English Exam.

Susan Margulies Beiter ’92

Questionable Inspiration

Instead of starting off with “In case you missed last week’s C-SPAN3 coverage …”, Josh Levinger might have said “In case you missed last week’s David Brooks Op-Ed in The New York Times.” [“Card-Carrying, Pinko-Commie-Liberal Can’t Force Self to Hate John Roberts,” The Tech, Tuesday, Sept. 20.] It seems that Brooks had the exact same idea as Levinger, namely to provide a bitingly satirical “transcript” of the Roberts confirmation hearings. Not only did the Brooks piece outshine Levinger’s stylistically, it was published on Sept. 15, three days before the submission deadline on the September 20 Tech.

Ian Z. Jacobi ’06

Author’s Response: While I acknowledge the similarity between David Brooks’ column and my own, the truth is that I had not read his before I submitted my own. I assure the readers that I was unaware of either the topic or the text of Brooks’ column. —Josh Levinger