American education---at its best---respects the individual learning styles of students and gives a nod to Howard Gardner's "Multiple Intelligences" concept. By stark contrast, classic European and Asian schools place highest emphasis on prepping for the almighty state examination which can determine a person's very future--and whether that future has any hopes of leading a student out of the demographic system he or she has been born into.
Dystopian movies about worlds gone mad over placement tests and trials by fire are sure box office hits...why? because they aren't that far afield of the truth in the major societies of the world.
We grew up with the notion of "IQ Smarts" or rather the verbal and mathematical intelligences--in Gardner's wording---that were supposed to be the be all to end all in any fair assessment of a person's intelligence and real worth in society. The SAT, which correlates absolutely to IQ, has become the sole determinant of a person's promise, and it's not only unfair, it's downright incorrect.
There is no correlation between success on the SAT or IQ test and success or happiness in life. Verbal and math skills may help us to navigate the tasks associated with getting by in the day to day world, skills like writing a report or balancing a checkbook, but they do very little indeed to help us navigate the ever changing landscape of life.