Yesterday, the College Board canceled its ill-conceived idea of allowing a handful of students– whose parents had paid $4500 for a summer program– to take the SAT in August.
As I wrote in this blog last week, the decision to give the SAT in the summer—when many, many students would love to take it— to such a small and privileged group, caused a quite a stir in the admissions community.
After I wrote my blog, the Los Angeles Times came out with an editorial taking the College Board to task over this decision. They went on to say that the colleges would have no idea which applicants had this advantage as those who took this summer test would have the June test date on their score report. “Colleges will not have the option of discounting the summer SAT results for those few dozen students because the College Board will label them as June tests — which in itself gives the students an unfair advantage, as they had more time to prepare for the test, even though it will look as though all students had an equal opportunity.”
Yesterday, USA Today published this article announcing that the College Board has decided not to offer the SAT under these circumstances. Full disclosure—I was interviewed for and quoted in this article.
Am I in favor of the SAT offering the test in the summer? Yes!! Do I think they went about this all wrong? Yes, again. To give the exam to one exclusive group –in this case the gifted and wealthy– is wrong. It is as wrong as it would be if it was only given to student athletes, or only those who are involved in the school play, or only those who work after school. If they want to run a pilot program to test the logistics, they need to do this with a broad spectrum of students across the US by offering it to anyone who wants to take it and charging the same price they charge for taking it during the year.