The fallacy behind SAT scores [Letter]

The efforts involved in redesigning the SAT are misdirected because there continues to be no rational basis for classifying test-takers in terms of the outcome ("SAT to be redesigned, focus more on classroom learning," March 5).

A knowledgeable test-maker can design a test to yield whatever average score is desired and to correlate test outcomes with an almost limitless set of criterion measures. But the plain fact is that correlation is not causation. Never was and never will be.

Every human being alive is prepared to take the next step in his or her development throughout life. Test outcomes, standardized or otherwise, should be taken as entry points to progress for all, not end points for some. The major challenge to be overcome in standardized test-making and test-taking is our elitist, institutionalized culture of education that seeks to document individual differences rather than to overcome them.

Henry H. Emurian, Baltimore

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