Stuff I Dislike: College Board

The insignia of the Evil Empire.

Most of the victims of the Tuesday Afternoon Stuff I Dislike are things that are just that, stuff I dislike. There’s no hatred involved – heck, last week, my discussion of Yo Gabba Gabba!,  saw me largely defending it and coming to terms with the fact that I don’t dislike it at all, that I just merely hate it.

That changes this week. I hate College Board. Let me say that one more time, in slightly louder type, for emphasis: I HATE COLLEGE BOARD. College Board, has, in my opinion, slowly destroyed education in the past few years so that it is nothing more than doing well on SAT’s and AP exams. (SAT, by the way, used to stand for Scholastic Aptitude Test – now it doesn’t stand for anything at all. That leads to another beef – they’ve turned education into a few brand names. SAT, SAT Subject Test, AP – that’s all you need to know to succeed in education apparently.) Education has become bastardized from when the test used to be well- rounded (students used to have to write essays on science, mathematics, history, Greek, Latin, French, and German, along with English), to where students merely need to memorize a few flash cards and whatnot. The fact that it is a required component – and a huge one at that – in college examinations causes stress among students and parents alike, as it boils college admissions down to a single exam.

Which leads to my next beef with College Board. The exams they provide – which, again, are of the utmost importance – are far too skewed towards those who have the resources to prepare – by that, I mean the wealthy. It has created a multi-billion dollar industry for prep course, review books, and flash cards – much of that money going to the courses, books, and cards that College Board provides. It’s like Philip Morris manufacturing both the cigarettes and the stop-smoking Nicotine gum and patches. And in conjunction with the Educational Testing Service, they’ve created a monopoly for examination – while the SAT has a competitor in the ACT exam, the SAT Subject Test has no equal and the Advanced Placement curriculum has only a partial competitor in the International Baccaulaureate system. As a result, they can charge whatever the market can bear, for a test that means far too much, and is easily taken advantage of by the wealthy.

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