The backlash started quickly after it was announced that the College Board would offer the SAT test in the summer – but only to students taking the National Society for the Gifted and Talented’s University Prep program. The program costs $4,500, and will be held on the campus of Amherst College in Massachusetts. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing has just endorsed complaints in a published criticism.
The protests are related to the fact that taking the SAT in the summer (when students have more time, the demands of schoolwork are on hold, and many SAT prep courses are offered) should be an option for all students if it is an option for the wealthy ones.
Executive Director of the SAT Program Matt Lisk has said that the University Prep program will function as a pilot, testing the practicality of offering the SAT in the summer (it’s worth pointing out that there was no mention of a pilot program in the original announcement).
The SAT has always been skewed towards the wealthy, though – anyone who can afford to can undergo private tutoring to prepare, take practice test after practice test, and participate in pricey SAT prep programs (many of which are offered by the College Board itself). But even those students who could afford to hire SAT prep tutors still had to take the test at the same time as everyone else – during the academic year. This decision by the College Board to allow 50 or so privileged high school students an exclusive opportunity to take the test has clearly struck a nerve.
While this criticism is certainly valid, that energy might be better spent in finding ways to level the playing field for everyone who takes the SAT – whether it’s in the spring, summer or fall.
Image by Aaron Escobar (Away)