Wall Street Journal, July 3, 2002.
Last week’s reforms of the SAT — a new writing test, elimination of the famous analogy items, and the addition of higher-level math problems — signal an evolution toward an SAT that is more “aligned with curricula,” in the words of the president of the College Board. Put more bluntly, the SAT is backing off its historic mission of measuring how smart students are. Before the process goes any further, now is a good time to ask who benefits.
In a sane world, testing what students have learned would produce one good result, just as the proponents of the reforms claim: It would change the incentives affecting high school curricula for the better. School systems that want to look good and parents who want their children to get high SAT scores would both have reason to seek beefed-up courses in history, mathematics, literature, and science.