College Board cartel


John F. Kennedy once said in a speech on the American Press, “the very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society, and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.” When I heard this quote in freshman year it stuck in my mind because of its overwhelming truth, and more importantly, its overwhelming application to our secret society: The College Board.

Does anyone know what the Student Aptitude Test (SAT) measures? According to the College Board, the SAT measures, “the essential ingredients for college and career readiness and success, as shown by research.” However, according to John Katzman, Founder and CEO of the popular SAT test-prep course The Princeton Review, “The SAT is a scam. It has been around for 50 years. It has never measured anything, and it continues to measure nothing.” To him, and many others, the SAT not measuring anything does not just mean and imperfect test, but means something much larger for society in general.

However, in my opinion, whether it is heavily linked to income or not does not matter as much as the fundamental question of whether this test is coachable or not and why we give this institution as much power as we do. Why does it matter if it’s coachable? For one, they claim that it is not and is actually a measure of innate aptitude. If it is coachable, then this is a lie. Secondly, if it is coachable, this gives a tremendous advantage to those who can afford courses or classes to increase scores. Katzman is very interested in this saying, “ETS [The organization that administers the SAT] has refused easily 50 times to do an independent study that we both get involved in, because it would be so easy, right? We say, here’s a list of our kids. Here’s exactly when they took the course from and to. Go put it in a computer. ETS, you supply all the numbers. And let’s look at the prior and the post and we’ll know.”

As I said, one of my biggest problems with College Board is not whether there tests are valid or not, but the way we have given the College Board an extraordinary amount of power with no questions asked. Whenever questions are raised, they are paranoid, secretive and dismissive. Common Core, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, are all programs that the government runs and that voters elect. It is a little bit concerning that they are bombarded with criticism for imposing their subjective standard of curriculum and intelligence on students. Yet, we find it completely okay when a private organization with absolutely no transparency unilaterally does the exact same thing nation-wide through AP, SAT and subject tests. If you need any proof, just look at David Coleman, who was named the ninth president of the College Board in 2012, right after designing the Common Core standards.

The college board was founded by Harvard and 11 other universities to create a standardized test so that those without family connections and higher income were given a chance at getting high scores. As Charles Murray said “Back in 1961, the test helped get me into Harvard from a small Iowa town by giving me a way to show that I could compete with applicants from Exeter and Andover. Ever since, I have seen the SAT as a friend of the little guy.”

However, as Saul Geiser, a research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley found, “Compared to high-school GPA, for example, SAT scores are much more closely correlated with students’ socioeconomic characteristics. As a result, the SAT has lowered the chances of admission for underrepresented minority applicants, who come disproportionately from disadvantaged backgrounds.” Meaning, its entire purpose, to give the “little guy” a shot, has been proven to be false. So why is it still used? As President Kennedy once said, “We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.”