There’s no question that schools over-rely on test scores. Even those who have the funding and desire go over every name individually — like the Ivies — still use test scores to screen.
There’s also no doubt that while the SAT, for example, correlates mildly with IQ scores, it has no predictive value for one’s life and career. (IQ itself only explains 25% of job performance, cf. Schmidt and Hunter.)
So schools rely on a test that is dubious at best, and there’s no doubt that some people are simply better at taking tests than others. (I reliably scored 98-99%ile in pretty much every test I ever took, whether SAT, GRE, or LSAT.) Some of that ability can undoubtedly be trained. These days, a lot of high schools aiming their students at colleges just do that training on their own – my kids’ high school did. Others pay for it, and in many cases scores go up. They won’t go up a lot, but given schools’ obsession with those scores, it can improve your chances at a better school.
This is not the equivalent of the cheating parents like Felicity Huffman, however. They got fake scores. A kid learning to take tests is getting real scores. It IS an example of “you get what you measure” – when you focus on tests, people focus on doing better on tests rather than learning.
October 01, 2016
August 17, 2016