I have always had concerns with the SAT as a test of grammar and writing, even before the present essay test, because classical forms of grammar that have been dropped by the ignorant Ebonics modern crowd are considered wrong (the dropping of the subjunctive form in English is but one). More recently I have discovered how the SAT essay portion is actually graded and I was appalled. Grading is based upon the rigid applications of "accepted" model sentence structures and accepted model composition forms that would serve the 1925 secretary well in the composition of a business letter, which is a creditable standard of writing, but not a particularly high standard, except measured against the excrescences of what passes for modern writing.
But none of it has anything to do with excellent writing, compelling writing, writing that invites the reader to want to read the piece, and, as I discovered in a colloquy with an experienced SAT essay grader, the writings of a Hemingway or a WF Buckley would not do well. They don't follow the set format.
And so we exult not in merit, but in mediocracy.
AJ, I heard you the first time! Thanks for your elaboration/clarification.