The College Board is winning plenty of praise for its upcoming changes to the SAT, with the editors at Bloomberg, for example, happy that the reforms might put a dent in the test-prep industry. When well-to-do parents shell out for that extra help, it "warps educational priorities and helps exacerbate educational inequality," they write. Others, however, think all the attention to the details of the test changes (no more mandatory essay, for one thing) is obscuring a much bigger point: "No single standardized test score should be used for a high-stakes decisions involving young students," writes Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post.
Agreed, writes Lion Calandra, who volunteers as an SAT tutor in New York City's public high schools. The emphasis on tests like the SAT and the ACT obscures the fact that high schools are failing in their mission to give students the "intellectual firepower" needed for college, Calandra writes at Fox News. Sure, students can learn tricks to improve their scores on the tests. But "the only meaningful change will come when higher education officials acknowledge that a high school transcript, school attendance, teacher/coach recommendations, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, internships, jobs, and interviews are the best gauge for whether a student will succeed in college."