I Don't Trust The College Board, And Neither Should You
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I Don't Trust The College Board, And Neither Should You

It's AP score season and I am once again reminded of how shady the college board really is

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I Don't Trust The College Board, And Neither Should You

If you have gone to any high school throughout the United States, you have probably heard about Advanced Placement classes (AP) or International Baccalaureate program (IB). Both promise to offer challenging courses to high school students through an intensive program that should prepare you for an exam at the end of that school year. Personally, my high school offered 4 AP classes, so I am well versed in what is believed to be an "intensive course." Advanced Placement classes are given through the College Board, a non-profit organization that promises students college success and opportunity. It's been recently brought to light that these promises are all for show and can even be deemed a scam.

For an organization that seems like a non-profit, they collect a lot of money. How? Well, the College Board is the center to not only the AP exams, but the SAT as well. The SAT is a standardized exam that tests high school juniors and seniors on various subjects. The core subjects being math, english and writing. Every high school student taking the SAT is expected to pay between $50 for an exam without an essay and $65 for one with an essay. Though this is not the only fee that comes with the SAT, there are multiple other charges such as a waitlisting fee of $53, phone registration fee of $15, and a change fee of $30. Not to mention, an SAT prep book costs around $30. As for AP exams, each exam costs $94 with the exclusion of two AP courses that are $124 and $142. Students in low income areas are given 3 fee waivers to cover the cost of the SAT and some schools in these areas even pay for the AP exams of their students. Even with the fee waivers given, students who are unable to pay the exam fee more than once are jeopardizing their chances as they cannot afford more than one exam. In 2019 alone, the College Board profited a total of $150-$160 million, not mentioning the $1.1 billion they have in cash and investments.

You'd think that they'd use this money to help provide students with better test preparation. Well the majority of high schools are not given SAT preparation as it is deemed the students job to prepare for these exams. My former high school was lucky enough to provide a 45-minute period of test prep leading up to the exams, but sadly not all high school students are given this same opportunity. An in-person course can cost anywhere from $800 to $1,800. For the millions of students that take these exams, not every student can afford these prep classes.

Now let's focus on a big issue that arose this AP exam season. This being the exams itself. When the pandemic rose, forcing schools to be shut down, we did not know what would happen with our AP exams. I had heard that IB testing was cancelled for the semester, while the AP exams were going to continue happening. The College Board seemed to disregard multiple concerns of students taking these AP exams. For one, students were not given access to the syllabus that contained exactly what the test covered, only the AP teachers were given the access (and even then the teachers had to pay). Secondly, they disregarded the well being of students, not considering how emotionally stressed both the pandemic and preparing for their exam is. Third, they did not consider international students who were taking the exams, some having to wake up at 2 am just to take them. Not to mention, they disregarded the students who do not have the privilege of having a stable Wi-Fi connection or functioning technology at home.

Leading up to the exams, many people began speculating that the College Board set up a Reddit account to catch students that planned on cheating. The Reddit user by the name of dinosauce123 created a subreddit for students wanting to, "share resources during the exam." Though this is all speculation and there is no evidence proving that the College Board created this subreddit, it's still pretty sketchy when diving deeper into it.

Now through all of this, you'd assume that the College Board, a huge corporation, would have had the AP test running smoothly, correct? Wrong. The AP tests went anything but smoothly. I guess the College Board didn't realize that having hundreds of thousands of students log into their database would cause the site to crash or cause students to be unable to submit their exams. According to the College Board, the first week of exams went smoothly, though through social media we saw otherwise. Students and parents were outraged at being unable to have their exams submitted. How did the College Board fix this mess? Well for students who were unable to submit the first week of testing, you can request to retake the test again the first week of June. As for the other students who were unable to submit, they can email their responses to the College Board to ensure they got their responses. People were left outraged as the measures the College Board took were near non-existent. Students with learning disabilities were also not given the accommodations that they are used to when taking the test in real life.

When students rushed to the College Board the day exam scores were given, many felt disappointed. They felt that their score did not reflect how well they did, and others were surprised that they managed to receive a higher score. So how are the AP tests graded? Well, AP test graders are volunteers of different educational backgrounds. An article describes the training as, "a summer camp - just for highly educated adults." Many students this year were feeling as if their tests were graded on a normal basis, instead of a modified scale based on what their test held. Sure, many students may ask their AP teachers to put in an appeal form, but that only applies to those who scored a 2 or lower.

This only scratches the surface of the countless sketchy things the College Board has done. Not to mention the countless ongoing lawsuits against them. So is the College Board a scam? Well, it depends on who you ask, but I personally do not trust a multi-billionaire company that promises they are "non-profit."

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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