The US is the country with the widest education gap. A few (usually rich) people are very well educated, most of the masses are below the lowest of standards of any other developed country.
Everyone in the world is using standardized tests and degrees. It's a rite a passage and a guarantee that people that have passed them have at least a basic level.
Sure, it's a got a lot of limitations and it is a rigid mold, but that's what you expect of basic core stuff. It is not useful in evaluating truly smart people, but it is really useful to have a better education on average and in particular for the disadvantaged, as it levels the playing field.