End the tyranny of the College Board

by | May 1, 2017 | in Opinions | No Comments

Every year students all across the nation can sign up for for multiple SAT, ACT, and AP Tests, throwing hundreds of dollars down the drain. They put countless hours, blood, sweat and tears into the College Board and other organizations and why? To help themselves, or the college board?

What is baffling to me is that organizations like the College Board, who own the SAT testing service and the Advanced Placement programs, The Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the SAT and AP tests, and ACT Incorporated, who own the ACT test call themselves non-profits, which means they do not have to pay taxes.img_4039

The big three testing organizations (the College Board, Act Inc., and the ETS) are all tax-exempt because of their so called educational purpose, but they are run in almost the exact same way as other taxed companies. They charge for their services (an exorbitant amount), pay their executives lots of money, invest, and lobby legislators. According to the Washington Post in 2013, the director of the ETS earned a total of $1,349,524 from the company.  Also in 2013 the chief executive of the ACT earned a total of $911,073 from the company, and the head of the College Board earned a total of $734,192. This seems more like a monopoly on testing rather than an educational non-profit, because these three companies essentially control all of standardized testing and seem to not have a very high regard for students.

The IRS allows for these companies to pay their high level employees so much because companies can pay salaries comparable to others for profit organizations that are run in similar fashions. This just seems like a way for companies to bend the rules, and make more money, not a way to help educate students.

I acknowledge that some of these profits go to the people that these organizations are serving. In 2014 the College Board Spent $75 million in fee waivers to low income students.  However, that could be avoided if they lowered the prices of their tests in the first place.

Since standardized tests are such a large part of the college admissions process, there should be much more public oversight into how these companies run their operations. The College Board is comprised of over 6,000 member schools, colleges, and districts. They should not be taking advantage of all of these students, but helping them.

I understand administering a test as a way of measuring a student’s college readiness, but at a certain point you have to ask whether you’re helping yourself or helping the college board exploit people’s insecurities surrounding college. I think the best way to run testing like this would be to have every high schooler take the same test once, like the PSAT and then be done with it. That way all of the test prep tutors and multiple attempts at the test would go away, and so would these companies’ excess of profit in non-profit organizations.

All in all there are much better ways to determine a student’s college readiness than standardized testing.  It can certainly be done, but without so called non-profit organizations manipulating a system that affects millions of students across America. So down with the college board and up with inexpensive testing.