The NY Times has a short piece about the SAT, here. I suspect this will be the first of many on this controversial subject. Their headline says it all, “For a High Price, SAT Available in Summer”.
As any Independent Educational Consultant, high school guidance counselor or high school student can tell you, the SAT is only offered during the school year. In fact, the first SAT of the school year isn’t offered until October.
The article states that, “For the first time, the SAT exam will be offered outside the school year — but only to students enrolled in a $4,500 summer program for gifted students on the Amherst College campus.”
To say that this smacks of privilege is an understatement. I am not going out on a limb in stating that I think the majority of high school students, especially rising seniors, would be thrilled to be able to take the test in the summer– when they are free to prepare themselves for the exam without the added school year homework, studying, projects, tests, sports, extra-curricular activities, etc. To offer this to only a handful of students is bad enough; that this small handful is limited to “gifted” and wealthy students is truly surprising.
After I wrote those words, I saw there was more to read on the subject. The Chronicle of Higher Education actually discussed this in more detail:
The summer camp, called University Prep, is sponsored by the National Society for the Gifted & Talented, a nonprofit group that’s committed to “developing potential in young people.” The camp, which will be held at Amherst College July 15 through August 4, offers students the opportunity to learn from “experts in the college prep field,”
An e-list devoted to college counseling that I subscribe to has already seen several posts about this, none of them happy with the decision by The College Board to offer this “pilot” test to a tiny, privileged group. I suspect these comments will grow as the news spreads in the admissions community. My favorite so far was posted by my friend Liz Lightfoot, college counselor at St. John’s College High School in DC, “I hope the students in the class learn the word “unconscionable.” It fits.
I find it hard to believe that the College Board made such an obvious blunder in judging the response this would generate.