Thursday, July 06, 2006

College Board Schools

I have a good degree of familiarity with the College Board. I have been an SAT test center supervisor for 20 years (1984-88 and 1991 to present), was a paid member of an advisory board for College Board publiscations (Book of Majors, College Counseling Sourcebook, etc) and was on two panels organized by the College Board (one on student's perceptions of the New SAT and one on advising first generation college students) at the College Board National Forum. I write this as perspective on my comments. I think there is some merit to what they are trying to do. The goal to work with first generation minorty kids to prepare for college is an admirable one. Yet I have all too often seen College Board as a lumbering, bureaucratic organization which lacks much creativity. I got to read and review many of their publications and this came out again and again: out of touch and off the mark. Then they decided to become a profit making organzation, further muddying the already murky waters. I would question the wisdom of taking an organization with so many misteps to serve in this capacity. I know of no one who describes this organization as innovative or concerned with the welfare of students. They are pretty good at doing what they do and I would question the wisdom of them running schools. If there is any momentum for the college counseling community, it is toward less focus on tests and more on learning. There is clearly a backlash toward NCLB. The one state that has a true obsession with testing is Florida, so there is little surprise that College Board Schools are thinking of expanding there. College Board running schools? Talk about the tail wagging the dog!

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