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The Dark Side of College Board

Youth Voices

December 19, 2023

In the labyrinth of standardized testing that dictates the academic journey for millions of high schoolers, the College Board reigns supreme. The organization, a bulwark of assessment, plans the SATs, AP examinations, and a plethora of other standardized assessments that mold students' college careers. However, underneath the non-profit organization's exterior, there is a question that begs to be answered: where do the millions collected from these evaluations go?

Despite the College Board's claims to be a non-profit organization, questions are frequently raised about the openness of its financial practices. The enormous amounts of money that these examinations provide each year beg examination: do they further education, or are they lost in a maze of confusing distributions?

This article dives deep into this argument, revealing the destinations of the College Board's enormous riches by removing the layers of income. We begin our search for openness by delving into the organization's non-profit status and scrutinizing the nuances of fund usage. Our goal is to shed light on the mysterious journey taken by the money collected via standardized testing.

College Board's Non-Profit Status:

  • The College Board functions as a non-profit organization, a designation often used for organizations committed to furthering the common good rather than making a profit for shareholders. Since College Board is a non-profit, it is believed that it would follow educational missions, serving the interests of educational institutions and students as opposed to owners or shareholders.
  • Its non-profit status sets it apart from for-profit companies since it reinvests its excess earnings back into its projects, goals, and activities. Its operations must serve the public interest, and it must abide by special tax restrictions that exempt it from some taxes and let it reinvest its profits back into its educational endeavors.
  • Nonprofits are built on the principles of accountability and transparency, and the College Board is expected to maintain these values in the management of its significant funding. To preserve public confidence and carry out its non-profit mission, this entails having transparent reporting procedures, disclosing financial information to the public, and making sure that funding is distributed per its educational goals.

Criticism and Controversies:

  • Concerns among students, educators, and the general public have been raised by the College Board's usage of finances, which has been the subject of several critiques and disputes. One recurring criticism centers on the organization's financial operations' lack of openness and clarity. Many stakeholders are asking the College Board to publish a more thorough account of money consumption, questioning how the significant cash from standardized examinations is being allocated.
  • Regarding whether the organization is transparent about its financial activities, opinions are still mixed. While some claim that the College Board keeps its financial information opaque, others counter that it frequently exposes financial information in ways that are difficult to understand or don't go into enough detail, which encourages conjecture.
  • In addition, this landscape has been dotted with litigation activities. There have occasionally been reports of litigation and legal challenges brought against the College Board for financial issues. Fee arrangements, accusations of profiteering, and disagreements over the use of funds are the main topics of these lawsuits. Even if some of the lawsuits have been resolved or dropped, they nonetheless highlight the ongoing conflicts about the organization's financial policies and responsibilities.

Impact on Students

  • Students are significantly impacted by the College Board's revenue strategies, especially regarding price and access to standardized testing. Many students find it extremely difficult to take examinations like the SAT and AP because of the high costs involved, particularly those from lower-income families. The lack of resources frequently restricts students' access to educational opportunities, which can have an effect on college admissions and limit worthy students' capacity to demonstrate their academic excellence.
  • The unfair burden that children from different socioeconomic backgrounds bear disproportionately highlights the systemic injustices in testing. Many people find these costs to be a significant financial burden, which may discourage them from taking the test or restrict the number of attempts they can manage.
  • The legitimacy of these payments in light of the services rendered is questioned by detractors. Although the tests are used as uniform benchmarks for college admissions, questions remain regarding whether the expenses are justified by the benefits of these evaluations. Proponents and students contend that the financial obstacles brought about by these fees go against the meritocracy ideal and prevent all students, regardless of their financial situation, from having equal chances.

The Future Outlook

  • Future changes to the College Board's income model might be brought about by changing educational paradigms and increased public scrutiny. Expected modifications may include a variety of topics, from cost structures to the organization's stance on standardized testing.
  • A plausible transformational path entails modifying the charge models. Tiered pricing or fee exemptions may be taken into account to lessen financial obstacles for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. These changes could be in line with a larger social movement that calls for increased fairness and diversity in educational institutions.
  • In addition, there has been increased focus on the validity and usefulness of standardized testing, which has led to talks about possible changes to the assessment system. A steady shift away from a hedonistic dependence on standardized tests for admissions choices is seen in the growing number of schools and institutions implementing test-optional admissions procedures. This tendency may catalyze changes at the College Board, including a reassessment of the importance given to these tests and possible changes to their frequency or format.

In conclusion, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about what will happen to the large sum of money that the College Board has collected from standardized testing. A complicated picture emerges when one looks at its non-profit status, disputes, effect on students, and prospects for the future. Even if the organization is non-profit, there are still concerns about the allocation of funds transparency.

The main players in this system, the students, can spark change. Strong channels for student-driven change include pushing for increased openness, proposing cost structure changes to guarantee fair access, and encouraging discussion of more inclusive evaluation procedures. Students may exert pressure for concrete changes to the College Board's revenue practices by raising concerns, participating in productive dialogues, and increasing the need for accountability.

Devika Khandelwal
1,000+ pageviews

Writer since Aug, 2023 · 1 published articles

A bibliophile combined with passion and interest for writing. Life's an adventure and I'm its curious explorer, seeking thrills, knowledge and meaningful connections. Dabbling in creativity, I savour books and dance through the art of words.

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