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Just Like The Rest


The big story right now is the election, but I can’t let this week’s U. S. News cover story on the SAT go by without comment. The story, by Julian Barnes, is heavily biased in favor of the changes to the test, relying in great part on interviews with U.C. president Richard Atkinson himself. There is a brief mention of those who feel that the current test will overlook “diamonds in the rough,” but no mention at all of the many problems with the new test that I’ve raised in several pieces for NRO (eg. the way that grade inflation vitiates research relied on by advocates of the changes; the special vulnerability of achievement tests to pressure for dumbing down; the current problems with the British pre-college achievement test as a warning sign). U. S. News used to be fairer than other mainstream organs. No more. Put this story together with last year’s one-sided cover story on boys and it’s obvious that U. S. News is no different from the rest.


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