Dr. Pace's Published Response in the Wall Street Journal (6/3/09):
"Tests Measure Many Things and Prepping Can Help"


Scholastic Aptitude Test coaches are viewed as polished, overpriced hucksters who use devious marketing ploys to prey on students' fears of rejection in the highly competitive race for university admissions and scholarships ("SAT Coaching Found to Boost Scores -- Barely," Personal Journal, May 20). However, in reality, many of us SAT coaches really love to teach, and we love the subjects being tested, especially when filtered through the precision of the SAT. Moreover, we trust our students can meet the challenge with enthusiasm, confidence and dignity if they are emotionally, physically, academically and even spiritually prepared.

Test-prep can be as life affirming and beneficial as any other area of learning. Because test-prep falls primarily outside the formal institution of education, we SAT coaches have the freedom to create programs that instill appreciation for the fundamental beauty and integrity of mathematics, teach how to express well-articulated responses to evocative SAT essay assignments and help students become more skilled readers and lovers of words. Moreover, we can educate the whole student, teaching valuable techniques from psychology and spirituality to help them deal with stress, lack of confidence and unhealthy attitudes toward the SAT. Educate the whole person in a healthy way and scores really do increase significantly, even when the pre- and post-test measures are actual PSAT/SAT scores.

I don't deny the abuses in the test-prep industry. Perhaps if people become more aware of this healthy approach, our students would be spared some of the negative attitudes that can usurp much needed problem-solving energy on test day.

Dr. Patricia Sisca Pace

Philadelphia