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The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul

Students despised the SAT not just because of the intense anxiety it caused but also because they didn’t know what to expect from the exam and felt that it played clever tricks, asking the kinds of questions they rarely encountered in their high-school courses. Teachers, too, felt the test wasn’t based on what they were doing in class, and yet the mean SAT scores of many high schools were published by state education departments, which meant that blame for poor performances was often directed at them.

An even more serious charge leveled at the test was that it put students whose families had money at a distinct advantage, because their parents could afford expensive test-prep classes and tutors.