Bruce Charlton comments on the massive kindergarten admission cheating scandals among the rich and famous of Manhattan and Brooklyn. This has led to an announcement that most of these vastly expensive schools will dump the use of the old Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence and replace it with a different and better test by February, or at least one that there aren't as many well-known ways to cheat on. (Good luck with that.)
The problem is the ambiguity in the word test.
Weschler is a diagnostic test, designed for clinical use. It - quite reasonably - presumes honesty in the test taker.
What is apparently wanted in the situation you describe is an exam - and an exam ought not to presume honesty.
One difference is that an exam designed for repeated use must have a very large bank of questions - but a diagnostic test need not.
In general, we need a massive nationwide review of the effects of test-prepping and outright cheating in tests.
High stakes tests were instituted by the Emperor of China in 595 A.D. for hiring well-paid mandarins. Presumably, test prepping was going on by 596 A.D. The Asian influx of recent decades has accelerated a massive change toward test-prepping, gaming, and dishonesty on tests, such as the recent cancellation of an SAT administration in South Korea. It would have happened anyway in the long run, but Asians have sped the process up by applying lessons they've learned over the last 1400 years.
In the past, I pooh-poohed the importance of gaming the SAT. Here's my 1991 op-ed on the SAT that appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. But, you live and learn (or, in the absence of much research, develop suspicions). Now when I think about my old insouciance on the question, I just feel like a Big Dumb White Guy.
We need some disinterested people to research and think through the issues raised by these phenomena.
For example, one question we need guidance upon is when is test-prepping a good thing or a bad thing? Recently, a federal judge threw out the Fire Department of New York's hiring test because it asked questions solely about firefighting. White guys tended to bone up on the complex subject of firefighting far more than black or Hispanic guys. Personally, I find guys test-prepping like crazy on the subject of how to save me from a fiery death to be, on the whole, a good thing. But the judge found test-prepping racist and evil.
I would guess that test-prepping is a good thing for doctor, lawyer and accountant professional exams after graduation, and, perhaps, for the military's ASVAB entrance exam.
On the other hand, when the point of the test is to uncover information about applicants not included in the grade point average -- SAT/ACT, GMAT, and a few others -- it might not be. Or then again it might be, but I've never heard of any studies on this, one way or the other. I imagine some of my readers know of some, but I don't.
There are various studies over whether test-prepping works on the SAT in raising scores in the short run, but a major question is whether the gains on the SAT from exhaustive reviewing in high school are hollow or not in the medium to long term. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if converting the SAT into another test of work ethic and guile just proves you've got the right stuff. Or it could be that people who testprepped like crazy their ways to a higher SAT score tend to run into more trouble with, say, upper level courses in their majors.
This wouldn't be terribly difficult for academics to test at their own universities, although there would be informed consent issues.
Finally, there's the question of how much all this stuff warps the culture. If your parents gamed the system like crazy when you were four to get you into Dalton so you could go to Yale and then Harvard Business School so you can become a Master of the Universe on Wall Street, is it all that surprising if you then try to game the mortgage market and wind up blowing up the world?