The Capitalistic College Board

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Now, obviously we all love College Board. Every year, they add a new wonderful strain to our neck with each change to AP test or SAT. Not to mention the fact that they are so wonderfully capitalizing off student’s anxiety, while still naming themselves a non-profit organization.
The College Board, with their recent partnership to Khan Academy, has decided to completely change the format of the SAT by 2016. This not only changed the format of the questions and the essay, but also changed and added curriculum to the test, which in turn increases anxiety of teachers and students. Students now have to take a completely different test. They have to study differently and prepare with a different viewpoint in mind. For the teachers, the students are a reflection of the quality of education these teachers are providing. In other words, if a certain English class scored badly on the Critical Reading or Writing portion of the SAT as a whole, that might reflect badly upon the teacher as well as the student. So, many teachers feel pressured into changing their curriculum and gearing it towards the tests that the College Board gives out. The SAT is not the only test that has been changing. From this year, the AP test will also change its questioning style, with more of a focus towards using evidence and critical thinking. This change also affects students and teachers, in much of the same fashion as the changes to the SAT. From day one, AP classes are often geared toward AP tests. With these changes, teachers have to work harder and change curriculum and tests in order to properly prepare the student for this new AP test. Now, I am not saying this change is a bad thing, but I am saying that this change can be more gradual instead of springing it all onto the students and teachers at once, which in turn increases stress, anxiety, and, in some cases, depression.

The stress, anxiety, and depression are then capitalized upon by the College Board. AP tests are $91. The SAT is $52.50 with a cost of $26 for each subject test. This doesn't include late fees, additional study material, and other miscellaneous costs. With the average student taking the SAT twice, two subject tests, and three AP tests, the average cost for just one student is $339. This much money, when seen in the context of all students in the US, gives the College Board a tremendous amount of money. Their profit comes out to $62,000,000 each year (Patch.com). These profits are 317% of the industry average.This seemingly unreal amount of money does not come back to the student in an attempt to lower costs, but instead goes to its management by way of high salaries and compensation. The president, David Coleman, will earn a base salary of $550,000, with a total compensation of about 750,000 (Patch.com). His predecessor, Mr. Capteron, had a compensation of 1.3 million, which was 444% of the industry average at the time. How can the College Board be called non-profit it it’s motives aren't completely altruistic?

Along with this, the pricing of materials sold by the College Board favors the richer students over the low income students. Tests such as
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the SAT and AP exams can be funded for low income students, but extra material cannot be. For example, the College Board SAT prep book sells for about $30, giving an advantage to the richer, better off students because of the edge they might be able to gain because of this book. Lower income families may not be able to afford it. So, is the College Board actually dedicated to what they say they are? That is, dedication to “expanding access to higher education for the poor, African-Americans, and Hispanic”? (Patch.com).

Is the College Board a non-profit? Or is it a profitable non-profit? Is the College Board actually trying to help us or are they trying to steal money while emotionally traumatizing students?