ART BY ESTELLE ZHOU
Domineering and elusive, a powerful monopoly reigns ominously over students’ academic freedom, ignoring their desperate pleas for change and fairness, all while preaching equality for all–the College Board.
Connecting students to success, they say. Providing equal access to opportunity, they claim.
But really, how many lies is the College Board feeding us?
Take the most recent SAT test administration on Aug. 26, 2018, for example. While students in America were doubtlessly racking their brains days prior to the test and stressing over what could determine their future success, their Asian counterparts took advantage of the time difference and as such were effortlessly searching up answers and refreshing tabs to memorize this repeatedly administered test. The test that American students took in August was far from an “equal opportunity;” rather it was a test that gives international students, who took the test months before, a completely distorted advantage.
And despite the fact that College Board may claim to sufficient measures to reduce cheating on their end, this, along with several other similar incidents, is definitely their fault. Of course, there are security measures implemented by proctors and forms of integrity to be signed by every test taker; however, the organization cannot physically stop every student from talking about the test. It is simply absurd to expect that College Board can prevent every student taking the test to not leak the test information.
However, College Board can control what is on the test, and with a majority of the tests within the past year, it has certainly failed to do its part. Though the August 2018 SAT test was the most well-known re-administration, this has been a recurring trend: Students who took the October 2014 test reported that it was eerily similar to the test given on June 2013. And in another incident, the March 2014 SAT test was the exact same test as the one administered in December 2014. Previously, in March 2014, the SAT was the exact same as the test administered on December 6, 2014.
Students are frustrated by the lack of integrity among the organization, leading to falsely depicted scores and, unsurprisingly, there has been absolutely no action on the College Board’s part to change such flaws. In an email regarding test policies, College Board wrote that “We have made great strides in improving our security measures over the past several years, yet we know more can still be done.”
Sure, College Board plans on developing new examination methods, but the fact that the August 2018 SAT exam was completely reused does not correlate with its alleged intentions. Furthermore, College Board is supposed to be for students, not against them. The unfair advantages that the College Board promotes by recycling tests does nothing to increase the equality of the playing field; instead, it only broadens the probability of cheating.
The College Board has a large impact on many high schoolers’ lives. By controlling tests that are crucial steps in the admission to colleges, the organization is truly a determining factor in many students’ futures. This notorious organization claims to be for students to further academic knowledge and broaden horizons on an equal level. With all the unfair situations that is has carelessly dished out to students in recent years, this simply is not longer the case.
With all of the slip-ups that the College Board has stumbled over, it really is a wonder that such a powerfully manipulative organization still heralds dominance over fate.
If the College Board does not start picking up its slack by offering fair test-taking conditions at all times, students who cheat will continue to thrive. The College Board is clearly not sending the right message with the current administered tests. To lead unassuming students down such a meaningless path while swindling their money is not only about fairness at this point: it’s a matter of morality and ethics. After all, if the College Board does not put in the work to create good outcomes, why should they be able to charge others with that expectation?
Having to take a standardized test on the weekend is already stressful enough. But to have that piled on top of school work and school test, and still to still having to worry about a factor that they cannot control– laziness on the College Board’s end–is simply inconceivable and almost impossible. Simply preparing to achieve a desired score on any test, especially one as important as the SAT or AP tests, no doubt takes hours of persistent dedication.
For the College Board to so blindly disregard the time, effort, and stress that students experience before, during, and after a standardized test is simply horrendous. Perhaps it is finally time for students and parents to actively shine light onto numerous scams, rather than tests, that the College Board has recently had to offer.
No longer should the College Board’s heinous ulterior motives be masked; rather, they need to know that mistakes on their part should not constitute extra stress on innocent, hard-working students.