In a recent article on standardized test preparation programs, test prep guru Anthony James-Green confides that “a student’s test scores have nothing to do with the student himself—instead, they have to do only with the steps taken by that student.” Welcome to the world of standardized test preparation, a billion-dollar business proliferating by the day. Welcome to the world of Robin Singh’s Testmasters, Karen Dillard’s College Prep, and the vast, omniscient overlord known as the Princeton Review. Here you can shell out $1250 to subscribe to our exclusive intellectual regimen, proven successful by students past and present. Here you can purchase practice book upon practice book to ensure standardized victory. Hell, why not go for broke: there’s the $1000 an hour bargain to meet with master Singh himself. Together, you may conquer the LSAT, MCAT, GRE, SAT, and every other three or four letter acronym of academic doom. One cannot put a price on the future, the philosophy goes. That being the case, we are presented with three possible conclusions: a) high-stakes standardized testing, both as a practice and as a measure of intelligence, is invalid, b) test preparation centers siphon the funds of upper middle-class parents not to teach students or make them, you know, smarter, but to bludgeon them with strategic tactics and loopholes, and c) such centers therefore skew the results and disadvantage students who don’t have access to such services. Naturally, the correct answer is d) all of the above.


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