Books: High Scorer

There are no simple answers in The Big Test

The Scholastic Assessment Test is like the riddle of the Sphinx, an ordeal by questions that can make further progress on the road of life very iffy. Right answers put you on your way to Prestige U. The wrong ones could give you a lifelong personal stake in the debate over the minimum wage. In The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 406 pages; $27), Nicholas Lemann describes the rise to power of the SAT and the keepers of its flame at the Educational Testing Service. Lemann is especially good at describing the "quiet...

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