Education: The Test That Everyone Fears

A major revision shakes up the all-important SATS

Seldom has a warning been so baldly ignored. Back in 1926 the nonprofit College Board introduced the Scholastic Aptitude Test with a cautionary observation: "This additional test," said the board, "should be regarded merely as a supplementary record. To place too great an emphasis on test scores is as dangerous as the failure properly to evaluate a score."

So much for caution. In test-happy America, the SAT has since become a kind of academic icon and a national rite of passage for college-bound high school students. Every year more than 1.3 million of them take the 2-hr., 30-min. multiple-choice exam, which...

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