Not so much any more. Both MIT and UC Berkeley have signaled their desire to move beyond test-taking excellence by refusing to even look at the SAT scores submitted by students. They used to demand students who were very good at taking tests but now they don’t want them. They want people with feel-good stories. I kid you not. One admissions officer told me that she enjoyed making kids’ “dream come true.”
My prediction is that the professors are going to feel great pressure to continue the tradition and stop giving tests in classes. Then the kids who had their dream come true once at admission time can have it come true again and again when they get an A in what used to be called a challenging course.
Now you might wonder if the kids will catch on. After all, a definition of a challenging course is one in which it’s hard to get an A. Eventually, the kids will figure it out but the good thing is that the schools won’t be letting in very many of those grinds, the kind that were good at tests. The doofuses will be fooled much longer than the smart kids who they now toss aside.
Don’t worry too much about the long term consequences. We’ve got years to go until the bridges start falling down and the planes start crashing.