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[Susan notes: A Maryland mom protests assertion that lots of SAT test prep is a good thing.]

Submitted to Washington Post but not published

To the editor

Michael J. Doran, the principal at Wootton High, says that encouraging students to take the SAT without heavy does of test prep would be like

setting them up for a "fools paradise." [Dispute Over SAT Simmers in Montgomery, Some Principals Say Weast Urged Them to Exclude Poor Performers,

Nov. 7]. But exactly who are the fools in the SAT testing game? According to a fact sheet published by the National Center for Fair and Open Testing,

the SAT I is validated for just one purpose: predicting first-year college grades -- and it doesn't even do this very well. "Testmakers acknowledge that high school grade-point average (GPA) or class rank are the best predictors of first-year grades, despite the huge variation among high schools and courses," according to the SAT fact sheet on www.fairtest.org.

And why should we celebrate a rise in SAT scores we know to be completely dependent on meaningless test prep? Local superintendents plot their

strategies to steal the SAT score bragging rights from each other, while the folks at the College Board, the organization which administers the SAT

series, laugh all the way to the bank with their $125 million in annual revenues. Whether they take the SAT cold or prepared with a lot of

mind-numbing test-prep - it's not the students who are the fools in this picture -- it is the education establishment that puts so much emphasis on this test.

Sue Allison, Lusby

The writer is the Coordinator of Marylanders Against High Stakes Testing.

Sue Allison

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