With the SAT and PSAT recently past, some students may be wondering where these all important tests come from. The tests are created by a massive organization called College Board, and it is more complex, and controversial, than it appears at first glance.

College Board is a not-for-profit organization that creates standardized tests and provides online resources to help American high school students with all things college. The College Board owns the SAT and AP tests. College Board also provides a college planning service that helps students find students find schools that fit their needs and provides scholarships. Despite the helpful resources College Board offers, some are off put by the knowledge and power College Board has access to.

College Board has been accused of having a “monopoly” on education as schools begin to move away from using the ACT for college entrance. The fees that College Board charges students and schools have drawn lots of criticism, even the College Board’s service to help students find financial aid charges a fee. Despite their non-profit status, College Board rakes in a yearly revenue of over $750 million dollars.

Another source of criticism is the validity of the SAT essay grades. In 2005, MIT Writing Director Les Perelman conducted research into these criticisms and found that, of the 23 essays he studied, the length of the essay directly affected the grade of the essay, even being able to guess the grade of the essay just by the length. Perelman believes that this shows that the essays are graded primarily by length ignoring factual or grammar accuracy. Other things that have garnered backlash are the delays in correcting test scores and the alleged recycling SAT tests.

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Arguably the most criticized thing about the College Board is the sale of student data. Any higher education, scholarship, or education access program that is government sponsored or accredited can buy access to student’s scores for $0.47 per name or $17,150 for full access to score breakdowns of every student. In 2013, a lawsuit was filed against College Board claiming “breach of written contract” and “invasion of privacy and misappropriation of confidential information” meaning the plaintiff (prosecutor) claimed that College Board was given permission to share their child’s scores not to sell them. 

College Board has taken a lot of criticism since its creation despite the what it has done for many students. What do you think about College Board?

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