Dr. Svi Shapiro is no fan of standardized testing.

That’s why the professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations was surprised to learn that something he wrote was the basis for an essay question on the June version of the SAT. (The college entrance exam added a writing element this year.)

He didn’t know anything about it until he spoke to a group at the N.C. Governor’s School, a summer program for intellectually gifted high school students. One of the students asked what he thought about having his work included on the test.

The College Board used several different essay questions on different versions of its test. One of those questions began with the following statement adapted from Shapiro’s writings:

“Most of our schools are not facing up to their responsibilities. We must begin to ask ourselves whether educators should help students address the critical moral choices and social issues of our time. Schools have responsibilities beyond training people for jobs and getting students into college.”

The question then asked, “Should schools help students understand moral choices and social issues?”

For Shapiro, the answer is a resounding yes. But the emphasis placed on standardized tests is a formidable obstacle to that sort of teaching and learning, he says.

“The quotation embodies my critique. I’m an advocate of education that develops children’s capacity to think critically and be creative. Standardized testing doesn’t do that.”