US: The SAT inches its way to oblivion

"Society likes to think that the SAT measures people's ability or merit. But no one in college admissions who visits the range of secondary schools we visit, and goes to the communities we visit - where you see the contrast between opportunities and fancy suburbs and some of the high schools that aren't so fancy - can come away thinking that standardised tests can be a measure of someone's true worth or ability." When I saw that quote in my morning newspaper the other day, I did a double-take to make sure I wasn't in some odd parallel universe, writes Peter Sacks, author of Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the class divide in American education, in News Day.

The speaker wasn't some rabble-rousing outsider to the higher education establishment - like me, for instance - taking another pot shot at the venerable SAT. No, that was William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, who was now rocking the SAT's boat.

He was referring to his work on a commission sponsored by the National Association of College Admissions Counseling, which has called upon the nation's colleges and universities to reconsider their heavy reliance on standardised admission tests like the SAT. The commission's report is eye-opening, not necessarily for the substance of its message, which isn't really new, but for the individuals and institutions now advocating this message of testing reform.
Full report on the News Day site