Jun 5, 2012

The College Board Backs Down

Amherst College
It took a little arm twisting.  But after FairTest, the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), and the National College Advocacy Group  (NCAG) came out against College Board plans to schedule an unprecedented August SAT for an “elite” group of wealthy students, the test was called off.
“We are an organization of independent college counselors whose stated goals include a commitment to equal access to higher education for all students,” said a message conveyed to the College Board from the HECA Board of Directors.  “For that reason we write to request that the College Board reconsider its decision to offer an August test date to a select few…We consider this a matter of fairness, equity, and ultimately, access.”
Evidently, the College Board came around to that way of thinking and decided against going forward with what was labeled a “pilot” summer SAT scheduled to take place at the end of a three-week intensive summer SAT prep program sponsored by the National Society for the Gifted and Talented.
In a letter provided to USA Today and sent to Barbara Swicord, organizer of the Summer Institute for the Gifted, the College Board said it would not proceed with the program because “it does not serve our organization’s mission of expanding access and equity in education,” and “certain aspects of the [summer program] run counter to our mission as well as our beliefs about SAT preparation and performance.”
The August test date came under fire after Elizabeth Stone, an independent college consultant, contacted the College Board with concerns about how the special test would give an unfair advantage to “an economically elite segment of the college-going population.”
The issue intensified after the LA Times reported that the College Board intended to lump the tests in with the June, 2012 SAT’s, making it impossible for college admissions readers to detect who was among the privileged few receiving the special benefit of a privately-administered SAT.
Even after turning the test into a “pilot” study for determining the feasibility of a summer test, the College Board couldn’t continue to fend off very public criticism coming from individuals and groups working with college-bound students throughout the nation.
In a note circulated to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Bob Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest, expressed appreciation for the support he received from organizations and NACAC members “who helped pressure the College Board to end this clearly unfair program.”

1 comment:

  1. The College Board has done some good things, but this was definitely not one of them. It is nice to see a group of independent educational consultants and other professional organizations stand up to the College Board and have it back down and apologize for a dumb decision.