America’s not-for-profit College Board is a membership organization of 6,000 educational institutions that creates and administers tests used by college admissions offices. But it “operates as a near monopoly” with tests “which have a stranglehold on their student-customers…an organization under serious strain, run by an elitist, tone-deaf chief executive,” according to a new article shared by long-term Slashdot reader theodp:
The College Board’s core product, the SAT, has set the standard for college admissions for more than five decades and fuels $1+ billion in annual revenue. In How The SAT Failed America, Forbes’ Susan Adams takes a look at the College Board’s billion-dollar testing monopoly and questions whether the great-granddaddy of standardized tests will survive…
Adams notes that 2020 and fallout from the Board’s inability to administer its tests safely and efficiently during the pandemic may be the undoing of the seemingly invincible cash machine. Since March, 500+ colleges — including every Ivy League school — have joined the growing ‘test optional’ movement. And on top of widely-reported technical problems with virtual AP exams in the spring, just-disclosed 2020 College Board AP data reveals that decreases in exam participation were seen in nearly every course.
“They’re going to learn how to do admissions without the tests,” warns the head of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. The article notes that “All told, more than 1,600 four-year schools will not require scores for admission in 2021, and a growing number are becoming ‘test blind,’ meaning they won’t consider scores at all…”
And there’s also privacy concerns:
College Board “leases” student data, including ethnicity, religion, gender and their parents’ educational backgrounds, to colleges and other third parties. The practice initiates an onslaught of promotional mailings and brochures that students’ families must endure in the years leading up to admission. (Late last year, a class action suit was filed in federal court in Illinois, claiming the College Board is violating the state’s child privacy laws and using deceptive practices to enrich itself. College Board points out that a similar suit was dismissed several years ago.)
The PSAT and SAT exams are loss leaders, in a sense, steering students to other opportunities on which College Board can cash in.
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