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About The Film
The ethics and practice of standardized testing have become an increasingly hot topic of national debate. The SAT testing system is a heavily integrated part of the American education system while also being a very large and profitable business. Of the 2.8 million kids who graduated from high school in 2002, 1.3 million took the SAT test, and some reports estimate college test-prep to be a $250 million industry.

Interestingly enough, house-hunters have been known to inquire about the SAT scores of children in a particular neighborhood before buying a home, and some real estate companies go as far as listing different areas average SAT scores on their website. The test has controversially been said to show an unfair bias against certain racial, ethnic and gender groups, leaving various minority representations in colleges across the country significantly unbalanced.

Because of years of controversy over the fairness of the SAT, the much-scrutinized test is now set for a little revamping, according to an article written by education reporter Jay Mathews in the November 2003 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. Entitled "The Bias Question,” the article states: "A revised version of the SAT, to be introduced in March of 2005, will add grammar questions and a written essay, replace quantitative comparisons with second-year algebra questions and replace analogies with more reading questions.”

Having directed such teen-oriented hits as "Varsity Blues” and "Good Burger,” as well as the television comedy series "Popular,” director Brian Robbins was attracted to "The Perfect Score” the minute he heard the premise.

"I've often questioned the ethics of standardized testing, and I feel that the importance placed on SAT scores has too much of an effect on a kid's future,” says Robbins. "Today's higher educational environment is very challenging because it's much harder to get into top colleges. In turn, it becomes more difficult to get into second-tier colleges as well. All this adds pressure on top of the everyday challenges kids face just growing up, and we wanted to tap into that.”

Scarlett Johansson, who garnered rave reviews for her breakout performance in Sofia Coppola's recent hit, "Lost in Translation,” as well as "Girl with a Pearl Earring,” appears as the fiercely independent Francesca in "The Perfect Score,” and believes the film raises a lot of really interesting questions.

"One of the questions asked is how can a test grade a person's determination? I mean, a bad score on the SAT can actually overshadow someone's drive,” explains Johansson. "And besides the SAT question, the film brings up the issue of transitioning from a child to an adult, and learning to be true to yourself.”

Producer Roger Birnbaum couldn't agree more. ‘The pressure and the anxiety that kids face surrounding the SAT is not a healthy thing,” he points out. "Besides that, it doesn't make sense. A kid can be a terrific student but be prohibited from getting into a good college simply because he isn't a good test taker.”

Setting out to create a character-driven script using the culture of the SAT exam as the backdrop, screenwriter Mark Schwahn remembers taking the test and the anxiety accompanying it. "When I took the SAT, it wasn't nearly the profitable, pressure-driven institution that it is now. Clearly, today the stakes are much higher and I think the film brings that across in a very human, authentic and funny way.”

When casting, the filmmakers decided that they wanted unknown actors over celebrity names, and looked for individuals with whom young audiences could identify. Chosen for the role of Anna, the overachiever who desperately tries to live up to her parents' high expectations, was Erika Christensen, the young actress whose extraordinary performance in the Academy Award®-winning "Traffic” wowed audiences and critics alike.

‘What really attracted me

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