The Real SAT Scandal

Apparently in an effort to address some of the scandal that’s resulted from the SAT cheating that occurred recently in Long Island, the SAT has hired a former FBI director to review security for the test.

According to an Associated Press article in Education Week:

A security firm run by the former director of the FBI has been retained to review security—and will recommend changes—on standardized testing procedures following an SAT cheating scandal on New York’s Long Island, officials with the nonprofit organizations behind the tests said Tuesday.

Former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton, who is now the president of The College Board, said the cheating scandal has prompted an international review of security testing procedures. He said Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC, which was founded by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh, has been retained to assist with security concerns.

Ah, security concerns. Bernard Kaplan, however, a Long Island school administrator involved in investigating the cheating scandal, suggested that the real problem was placing too much value on the test “Many educators have come to believe that the SATs are over used, over emphasized, and generally given much more credibility than they warrant,” Kaplan said to the AP. “What SATs measure best is how well you will do on your next SATs.”

Adding more security to the SATs will add higher cost to the test and also make the SATs seem really important. Even though they really aren’t. Designed to predict college grades, they’re really just intelligence tests that closely reflect test preparation and social class.

Part of this “given much more credibility than they warrant” thing is hiring a firm like Freeh Group International Solutions. What makes this so odd is that by hiring someone with an FBI affiliation, however distant, the College Board signifies that SAT cheating is Just As Important as the national security matters with which the FBI concerns itself.

We’re talking about college admissions here. Boston College vs. Boston University. Georgetown vs. George Washington. Who cares?

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer