ALL RIGHT, CLASS, here's today's plane-geometry question from the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test: When one 17-year-old student from Florida puts two pyramids together and comes up with a different but right answer to Question 44 on last October's PSAT, how many exposed faces does the resulting solid have?
(A) 16 red faces of college professors on a panel that hadn't realized there was a second correct answer;
(B) 200 faces of students whose recalculated scores add them to the ranks of "semifinalists" in the National Merit Scholarship competition;
(C) 450 others who will be added to 35,000 scheduled to receive commendations from the scholarship sponsors;
(D) All of the above, plus $110,000 for postage and other expenses.
If you answered (D), you were more correct than you would have been had you answered with another letter, because that's the story this week out of Princeton, N.J., home of the PSAT, the SAT and the QED, which is what Daniel Lowen of Cocoa Beach High School did once he got a look at the scoring on his test. Predictably, this story has elated many supporters of laws that would require sending copies of answer sheets and test questions to students, even though the returns were sent voluntarily in this instance.
But those of us who share many reservations about these misnamed "truth in testing" laws need not default on the basis of this one clever catch. Tomorrow's question, of course (and we shudder to think of the answer), is: How many wiseacres are going to be testing the testing by filing contrived arguments on behalf of their "wrong" responses? Score them all.