Tongues are wagging at at least one head is rolling at Claremont McKenna College, a small liberal arts school in Southern California, following news that a member of the admissions department had repeatedly lied about incoming students’ SAT scores to boost the school’s ranking in the (in)famous U.S. News & World Report survey. Further investigation will determine whether the officer acted alone. Words like pathetic, disgraceful and disgusting come to mind.Yet while this reflects poorly on the administration of Claremont McKenna, it also underlines a problem that plagues the entire field: There is no good way for parents (or employers) to determine how good a school really is. Current measures like the U.S News & World Report survey place a strong focus on the SAT scores and GPAs of accepted students, but this says more about the children coming in than it does about what they’ve learned by the time they get out. And while Claremont McKenna is among the worst (known) cheaters, it’s an open secret that many schools game the system to improve their rankings.Via Meadia’s proposal: entrance and exit exams for BA students, that would measure what they knew coming in and what they’ve learned going out. An examination along these lines would make it easier to assess colleges, and would be useful for parents, employers, and colleges alike. Parents would benefit from a more accurate ranking system, which would give them enough information to make a good decision for their kids; employers would likewise benefit by knowing where to focus their recruiting efforts as well as having some kind of comparable achievement standard for kids from all over the country.Colleges, for their part, would be able to better assess how well they are educating their students, and could identify areas that need improvement. This would be especially beneficial for less selective schools that manage to turn out successful graduates—a school that turns middling applicants into stars would receive higher accolades than one that only accepts the cream of the crop.And individual students who do well can stand or fall on their own, not living or dying by the reputation of the college they attended.Many kids go to expensive prep schools and benefit from tutoring, fancy internships and all the grooming their parents’ money can buy. This gets them into famous schools, but is no guarantee that they learn anything there. America needs a fundamentally fairer system of higher education: one that lets every student take full credit for his or her achievements.And parents and students both need better information about colleges that are asking them to pay huge sums and incur vast debts.