College Advice Blog

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Aug 25, 2012

College Board on Trial: Challenging the Fairness of a New Summer SAT Program


If you don't want to take the SATs while balancing homework and finals during the school year, The College Board says you can just take the test in the summer–if you have an extra $4,500 that is. For the first time in the history of the college-entrance exam, test dates will be available during the summer months where students are out of school. But don't rejoice just yet college-bound high school students: you can only enjoy the benefits of summer testing if you have the $4,500 enrollment fee for an elite gifted students program.

Criticisms of SAT Summer Testing
Just how exclusive is the program exactly? The privileged few enrolled in the National Society for the Gifted and Talented SAT summer prep program at Amherst College amounts to fewer than 50 students. The new test availability has sparked outrage among educators, parents, and critics of all kinds, who claim that the program is unfair because it favors elite students. These allegations have been further supported by the College Board's surreptitious reporting of the results. Test scores earned in August were recorded as June results, giving unknowing college admissions officers a false impression of the advantages these students might have had.

As referenced in the Huffington Post, California-based education consultant Elizabeth Stone asserted that "They clearly feel the need to 'cover-up' what they are doing." Joseph Soares, professor and author of SAT Wars, quoted in the Examiner that the summer test is simply another exposure of the "hypocrisy of the College Board's rhetoric about the SAT being a fair way to democratize and expand access to higher education."

The College Board's Response
Because of the heavy media attention and overflow of criticism regarding the program, the College Board released a formal statement claiming that SAT test administration will no longer occur in the summer on the grounds that it would be "inappropriate" and "counter to [their] mission of promoting equity and access." Although the College Board admitted that their trial of summer testing may have been poorly executed, the organization claims that they plan to reintroduce the initiative at a later date "in a manner that better aligns with [their] mission and the students [they] serve."

Although this recent controversy has given the College Board a bad rep, the organization has contributed to the democratization of education in recent years by offering additional SAT test centers in both rural and urban areas with exceptional need. To further increase test access to students with greater need, the organization has also increased an SAT School Day initiative that enables testing to students on weekday mornings at their home schools.

Dan Edmonds of Time Magazine claims that although the College Board summer testing initiative was a flop, a summer SAT testing program does have great potential to increase the availability and access of the test for students with socio-economic challenges to confront before taking the test. As more and more students opt for taking the test and as the nation's top colleges become increasingly selective, limiting the stress of this all-important test is crucial for helping students succeed in the future of their academic careers.

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About the Author
Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts covering social media and education and writes on behalf of American InterContinental University. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master's degree.
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