How Did College Board Popularize the SAT? (2017) A look at how College Board was created and expanded to dominate the standardized testing business in America

How Did College Board Popularize the SAT? (2017) A look at how College Board was created and expanded to dominate the standardized testing business in America

Honestly, College Board needs to burn in a fire.

Just wait until you want to go to grad school! Then you have to take another standardized test because fuck you for getting a degree!

How these guys are still considered a non-profit is beyond me.

And they fuck us charging like 30 bucks a pop to send the damn test to a school

Say it ain't so! College prep is a profit based industry?

I've never understood the SAT and College Board.

"Yo dawg, let's make a test and give kids absolutely no resources except a calculator. Because that how it happens in real life!"

You know how I know?

I used to take the ACTs for people back in High School back in the 90's. I charged a whole $100 and would guarantee you at least a 30 which was enough to get the automatic state-sponsored scholarship program.

It was super easy. The local community college didn't require ID to get a student ID and most kids were dual-enrolled so I would just stroll in and say I lost mine and needed another. I'd walk out 10 minutes later with my picture on whoever's ID I was taking the test for. I'd have them schedule the test at another HS so no teachers would recognize me.

So this one girl got a 16 when she took it. That's really low. So I go get her ID with my pic (I'm a guy fyi, but no one questioned my feminine name that day, lol) and take the test. But I get a 32. Literally doubled her score.

So, we got caught. How? Did ACT care? Not at all, they got their fees. They couldn't care less. I later found out that they will never question test results unless challenged by a 3rd party. What happened was our school is notified whenever someone scores over a 30 and gets that state-sponsored scholarship. This girl's guidance counselor gets the memo and knows that she's a nincompoop. Counselor looks up her last score and sees the 16. Jig is up. Counselor files a formal investigation request with ACT to validate the score. I still don't know why he did that. It behooves the school to have high ACT scores, but whatever. That day he decided to fight the good fight.

What ACT did, was look in the math section. You have to use the margins for scrap paper. So you have the algebra, A+1=2 or something. They compared my handwritten A to the previous tests handwritten A. The girl wrote like a typical girl, I wrote like a typical boy, so it was obvious whoever got the 16 was not the same test taker as the whoever got the 32.

So what happened? Nothing. They just delete the score. Like it never happened. No repercussions. No record of it. It just goes away. You can go back in and re-take it the next test day

That's when I realized ACT was just a company charging kids to take a test. They coudn't care less what actually happens with any of it. Just as long as thousands and thousands of kids pay that test fee every year. That's all that really matters.

The SAT is a downright fucking scam. You should go to community college and then transfer; not only do you avoid the bullshit charges from CB but your first two years that employers don't give a shit about will end up being a lot cheaper as well.

But they're free if you send it immediately after you bomb the shit out of it. I seriously moved to Germany for grad school and am learning German just to spite the GRE.

"Not for profit organisation"

The purpose of the exam is not to emulate real life. It's to test critical thinking skills and your ability to ingest and process information.

If you're having a conversation with someone, say a debate, you can't run to your smartphone every time you want to say something (or even if you did, you would need to know what to look for). That's why the SAT tests reading comprehension and math, and not the history of France from 1600 to 1750.

How does the US not have a set of national exams set by the department of education instead of the SAT, an exam with little relation to what they learn in school and run by a private company? (Edit: Typos)

I️ still had to take the SAT to get into community college.

The wiki page considers them to be a not-for profit organization which is different I believe.

This is directly from College Board's Wikipedia page.

In 2006, College Board had $582.9 million of revenue but spent only $527.8 million, leaving a $55.1 million surplus.[21] Budget surpluses persist despite market-leading compensation packages for College Board executives – in 2009 College Board paid out a $1.3 million/year package for CEO Caperton, more than the head of the American Red Cross or Harvard University. It paid nineteen executives more than $300,000 each per year.

This is directly from the Nonprofit organization wikipedia page

A non-profit organization, also known as a non-business entity,[1] is an organization that has been formed by a group of people in order "to pursue a common not-for-profit goal", that is, to pursue a stated goal without the intention of distributing excess revenue to members or leaders.[2] A nonprofit organization is often dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating for a particular point of view.

Edit: College Board is the complete opposite of a Nonprofit organization.

You should visit where I learned you can be the top student and not be accepted into a top school. It's depressing cause everyone is a high scorer.

Edit: I hated the SAT. It's like the most annoying test because of its structure is like a guessing game like why the penalisation for a wrong answer.

Edit 2: I took the SAT before they made the changes though I plan to actually take it again because I want to know I how I am now vs past scores. The GRE for grad schools is different...

For real, if the internet is down we're all fucked anyways.

How does the ACT compare to the SAT? I took the ACT and don't recall any "memorization" being involved.

penalization for the wrong answer adjust the score for guessing. That is if you guess, on average you'll earn 25% (or whatever). SO if you make a wrong answer worth -0.25 marks, a guessed test will( on average) score 0.

the SAT is garbage, but that's a pretty reasonable rule for a well designed multiple choice test.

lol people are super salty about this test.

I'd be fine with testing if it truly showed correlation to your performance in college. The truth is that the kids who do well on it have taken it 5+ times to maximize their score and been personally tutored on it, whereas some kids without those means, and may be just as smart/motivated/able to attain excellent GPAs, get their application thrown in the rubbish.

The current SAT doesn't penalize for guessing anymore either. They don't take points off for anything anymore.

Source: Am taking the SAT again for the third time soon.

Not for profit /= non revenue

Yes, but after paying the board members they are left with no more profit.

Like every other industry in the US! Not even trying to make a joke here, that's the way things are set up here.

A test that is based on reasoning instead of knowledge will weed out the kids who can regurgitate shit but can't actually think, and reward naturally gifted students with strong reasoning skills. A lot of programs are looking for innately bright people and not just kids who can memorize shit. A standardized test that tests for reasoning skills instead of knowledge lets them figure out which candidates are which.

Are you salty about it because you didn't do well or something?

I think the ACT cares about the validity of scores. The ACT does inpspect scores /answer sheets for suspicious test taking behavior, including unusual score gains. Often the suspicious behavior doesnt come with concrete evidence of cheating. So ACT will cancel scores and allow you to retake. The ACT has no reason to punish test takers, as they're in the business of maintaining valid scores, not dishing out justice.

They actually do, but they don't record individual student's results, only certain demographics (as in they don't say Mary got an XXX in this, but Female student in 8th grade who is part of the school lunch program got XXX). You can read more about it at

there isn't. it's not like some vocab you just cram for

Yes - I believe not-for-profits are allowed to have a board of directors which makes a profit. Still, the CollegeBoard is awful.

Be warned: transfer rates are abyssmal these days, so don't expect this to be the easy path.

Spez: apparently this varies greatly by state, check to see if your CC/State Uni have some sort of transfer agreement.

that's why they only make about $600000000 a year

I wish it were free to bomb the shit out of them...

Fuck these motherfuckers, they can suck an elephant's dick, bunch of fucking money making assholes.

In my experience with tests like this, there are two types of people: People who did well and people who think the test is bullshit.

They removed that rule. You can guess your way through with no penalty.

Not sure why Americans constantly shit on their own country

Because criticism of ourselves and introspection is what constantly moves us forward and is the very reason were better than a lot of places

Seriously. They just do it to fuck you over. A GRE prep site, Magoosh, literally tells you that you are only studying how to take the GRE and that it isn't a general knowledge test. What the actual fuck will that for me in grad school.

There is no memorization that person is just being inflammatory and riding the karma train.

Its very easy to gain a following by insulting education, learning, testing and intellectualism

Because it's important for you to understand the concept then demonstrate that you understand the concept.

It's staggering how people just can't understand that. I teach these tests. I realize there are limitations, but I've never seen an idiot score highly on them. People who don't score highly do not reason as well. There's just not a lot getting around it. That's not to say there aren't other forms of intelligence that are good and worthy.

Among my peers, I haven't seen an idiot score high on them, but I've known extremely smart and competent people who didn't. That troubles me a lot. What do you think?

I'm more familiar with the ACT than the SAT, but from what I recall there wasn't any "memorization" involved at all. And from my experience, people who do really well with that kind of testing are just naturally good with that kind of knowledge. The kids who take it multiple times are the fringe students who are trying to get up one tier for a better scholarship. The kids who get in the top 10% or so are just naturally gifted.

I went to a small high school (30 kids per class) and of the 6 students in my class who scored 30 or above on the ACT (max score 36, 18 is roughly baseline for college acceptance IIRC) none of them paid for tutoring or study materials or took the test multiple times. They just showed up and got good scores.

I feel like you are greatly over exaggerating the numbers. My parents put me through more SAT prep than most kids get, and that totalled around $4000-5000. It's still a lot, but nowhere near 20,000.

I'm feeling like some people in here didn't do too well on their tests... while the practices of CollegeBoard and ACT extorting money from students is wrong, the test itself is quite valid as a measure of general academic abilities. A person who can score a 1500 will on average do better than a person who scores a 1300.

Virginia has a program where if you keep above a certain gpa and complete two years of a community college you can transfer to any in state school with guaranteed admission. I'm sure other states have something similar

ACT (when I took it at least) also didn't penalize for guessing. On the SAT you got credit (or less points off) for blank answers.

society would collapse if it broke on a big scale

They provide a great opportunity with the AP program,

Most Ivy Leagues no longer accept AP credits, meaning that test most students are forced to pay for OR schools are forced to pay for mean nothing.

they give out scholarships to exemption students

They give out a 500 dollar scholarship for taking the PSAT to one in every couple of thousand students who take it. They profit from this.

and they administer a university admissions test.

Which costs money that students are forced to pay. There is no alternative.

I did well but I don't really like the freemium education model.

Yeah, your public school education is free, but good luck finding a decent job unless you unlock the next level:

Pay $50 to take a 4 hour test Pay $12 per college you would like to send your score to Pay $100 per AP exam Pay $50+ per college application

And apparently it works pretty damn well given you guys have the overwhelming majority of the world's top universities and even in other countries we use your standardized tests. Not sure why Americans constantly shit on their own country.

It makes sense if you look up what the actual definition of non-profit is.

You're an inspiration to grad students everywhere.

If you read more into the wikipedia article:

In economic terms, a nonprofit organization uses its surplus revenues to further achieve its purpose or mission, rather than distributing its surplus income to the organization's shareholders (or equivalents) as profit or dividends.

Sorry, but it is a nonprofit. A nonprofit does not have shareholders who receive a dividend from the organization's revenue, but instead reused for itself.

The salaries, although very high, are not considered dividends.

I think many people are conflating non-profit with charity.

What?! Tf did you go to comm college?

Exactly. The SAT is hardly a measure of intelligence, it's a test of memorization and fiscal means. You will do well on the SAT if you can:

Memorize large amounts of information without necessarily understanding it. Pay someone you to tutor you and take the test multiple times.

It's not only a fucking scam, but it boils down a students entire academic life into one fucking number. Doesn't matter what classes you take, what your interests are, where your skills lie, its just that one. Useless. Number. Yet that number can have massive. Life-changing implications.

Lmao, the SAT tests basic algebra and reading comprehension. There's no "memorization" required unless you fucked off during middle school.

Because they don't want it to test how well you can Google things. What are they supposed to give you?

I'd ask what their scores are, how smart and competent they actually are (and how you know it), and how hard did they work at it? It's also possible they suffer from test-anxiety.

The problem with intelligence is that everyone thinks they have it in spades. You can bet that most people are dumber than they think they are, except for the very intelligent (see: the Dunning-Kruger effect). And, it's also harder to recognize intelligence when have less of it. I also think people underestimate the vast differences in above average intelligence and 'very intelligent.' Since we're in an SAT thread, the difference in an 1250 (top 14%)--a very good score--and a 1500 (top 1%) is quite large.

I've taught many, many students over several years. I can predict pretty well how someone would do on a test if they were to take it that day, and usually with only a few minutes working with them. People can improve, sometimes dramatically, but it takes work. I've had many students whom I knew to be intelligent get close or beat me on the tests I teach. I have yet to meet someone whom I thought was smart enough to do roughly as well as me and then fall drastically short.

This all sounds very arrogant, I realize. I am insinuating that I am on the high end of that spectrum. To be clear, I think I'm far from 'brilliant,' and I also recognize that intelligence is one part of a very complicated equation for 'success.' Studies have shown that IQ is one useful predictor of success up to a score of about 120 (top 10% or so), at which point it matters hardly at all, but even when it matters it's just one thing. But I have scored well on these tests and have many friends who scored very well on these tests. They ain't idiots.

SAT costs too much, but the reasons behind standardized testing is entirely valid.

lmao it was a pretty reasonable test i was fine with it

By reminding the professor of pointless naming conventions that, depending on your field, might be dated by the time you graduate!

In south Florida, you had to either take the CPT or the SAT for admissions. I started going to community college during the summer after my sophomore year of high school to get more college credits than my HS could offer through AP and it was before I had taken the SAT so I opted to take the CPT

It's also fairly well correlated with IQ while also testing some things that you would have absorbed in high school to see how much you take out of school. Not everything is some horrible conspiracy that we need John Oliver to do a show about, sometimes things are the way they are because they actually work pretty well.

There is the ACT which is an alternative college admissions test. Many schools will take either.

And state schools still normally accept AP credits, which is where the vast majority of college bound high school students are going to end up. I got a good 30 credit hours of basics from AP tests which is worth around $9000 in tuition. I was also lucky enough to live in a school district where the test fees were subsidized so I only had to pay around $15 for each test. I realize that not everyone has this luxury though.

The ACT does inpspect scores /answer sheets for suspicious test taking behavior, including unusual score gains.

They didn't back then. The girl got a whole thing on her score being challenged. The paperwork specifically said they would never investigate a score unless asked to by a 3rd party.

California has something similar. In my community college you must complete an associates degree for transfer (so you're completing lower division classes as well as major reqs) and meet certain requirements, it guarantees admission to at least one cal state university. We also have a TAG program with the UC system which 6 campuses offer, it guarantees priority review of your application.

Non-profit != Charity

Totally so.... In that field. I’ve had parents pay $3-4,000 for the test 8th graders take to go to 9th grade.

Pay upwards of $20,000 for ACT or SAT prep, then another $10-$20,000 for college counseling.

Now, they all make the scores needed to get into their top choice school, and their scores are also earning them full scholarships as well.

One parent said “pay now or pay later”

I got a good SAT score, and I only took it once. However, I attended a group prep class at the community center (not individual tutoring) and spent a lot of time studying on my own. Tbh I attribute 90% of my success to the book I used to study.

Got you, my fault for not looking up the stats on the college board -- so yeah they shouldn't have the status anymore. Thanks for replying with this information.

I disagree, I found AP classes to be similar to college classes, just made for a different audience.

Ngl I fully believe College Board is worse than EA. At least Battlefront doesn't determine your future.

College is still a great investment if you major in something useful.

The work and effort involved in an AP class in HS is about 2-3 times what it is just taking a freshman level AP class. And the fee's they charge for a test are nuts. ACT is about the same for our state. We now have every student in the state taking the ACT and it is now a graduation requirement that every student must take the ACT. So guess what happened to our school averages once the unwashed masses that could care less about college start taking it.

Never took the SAT. Went to community college and took the Texas community test (don't remember the name). Took the test for free from the school. Now going to a 4 year school after community. Ymmv state by state.

It's been a year and a bit since I took either but just my two cents I can't recall a single substantial difference between them. Both are reason-based and my scores (including psat) were almost exactly equivalent. not saying the organizations aren't soullessly evil but the tests themselves -given their intended role- aren't that bad and seemed largely consistent to me


I teach math in college. I have students who never needed to learn how to solve a quadratic equation because the calculator did it for them in high school. Then they work on a problem where they have to know for what values of k the function

f(x) = 2k²x² - 9k²x + 9k² + 1

has real roots (this comes from a physics exercise in which they have to find out if a shell fired from a cannon reaches its farthest point from the cannon during its flight or not, assuming parabolic trajectories and level ground) and they have no idea how to proceed. It's not just that they don't know the algebra, they literally don't understand what it is they have to do, and how it relates to solving a quadratic equation. Because they have no concept of "solving a quadratic equation", they just know what button to push on one specific model of calculator.

And this is why you need to do some things by hand, so that you understand them at a visceral level and can start using concepts like the discriminant of a quadratic equation as a building block in your reasoning, rather than just being able to compute it when you are asked to.

Now "doing things by hand" does not mean "mindlessly memorizing stuff in order to repeat it on command". But saying you don't need to understand the unit circle just because your calculator knows that sin(30°) = 0.5 is missing the point.

These days, I give open-book exams. Don't want to memorize anything? Go ahead, it's all in the book. Make your own cheat sheet with worked problems. Program your calculator all you want. The only thing that's forbidden is accessing outside information or people. But if you think you don't need to understand the material you'll fail big time.

Standardized testing is a cancer upon education.

Fuck yo test

The full names of these tests give you a big clue. It's been a few years, but the last time I looked was in 2012, and the ACT was still subtitled as a "reasoning" or "readiness" test, while the SAT is an "achievement" test.

In the ACT, every question is answerable from a 10th grade achievement level with logical reasoning. Incorrect answers do not count against you -- it's not so much that you aren't penalized for "guessing" but rather that you are encouraged to use skills like process of elimination to help you reason your way to an answer, even if it's ultimately wrong. Many colleges are accepting ACT scores because it provides a decent measure of how well you can think through a problem even if you've never seen it before.

In the SAT, every question is based on high school level achievement between ninth grade through AP (the college board is responsible for both SAT and AP resources, so this is a valid and consistent way to standardize the content). The idea here is that you really should have seen these questions or very similar ones at some point during high school, and that if you haven't then you may not have taken challenging enough classes. You are penalized (I think it's by 1/3 credit) for incorrect answers -- this is to strongly discourage outright guessing, which does not help identify achievement.

Obviously which you should take depends on what colleges you want to attend. I also recommend all students at least try the PSAT because that's the qualifying test for National Merit scholarships, and it gives you a good idea what the format and content is like for the SAT.

Edit: I guess in the last 5 years they redesigned the SAT to put more focus on reasoning and eliminate the penalty for guessing. Probably a business decision -- you know, ACT was gaining popularity so try to make the SAT more like the ACT? I guess I'll have to take a harder look through the new resources next time I tutor test prep!

Then wait again once you want to practice your graduate level profession.

Fuck the bar exam. Fuck it so much. If I never see another multiple choice bubble question it will still be too soon. Not quite PTSD levels but about as close as you can get from a stupid test lol.

You should get the new iOS update

The SAT is mostly about taking a standardized test under pressure. People easily raise their scores from 500 to 800 by simply taking prep courses or doing practice tests. This also kind of unfairly advantages people who can afford prep courses/books.

If you look at the questions, the questions are not that difficult, especially compared to classes most college-bound juniors/seniors are taking. It is kind of like the test where there are names of colors that appear in colors different from the actual word and you have to name the color of the word as fast as possible. (i.e. the word "BLUE" written in the color pink and the word "ORANGE" in the color green.) Imagine if college admissions was based on the speed and accuracy of 3 hours of those questions. Someone who practices a lot would do significantly better. People who are not color blind and can identify colors at a reasonable speed would probably still make mistakes after 3 hours.

cant argue with that

Yeah fuck the whole idea of implementing a universal way to measure students' ability!!1!

I'm patiently waiting for this to happen

Because that kind of schooling betters you as a person, no SHIT you can Google the answer at work, you can't google critical thinking abilities.

Its completely possible to do fine on the SAT first try what are you talking about

The valedictorian of my engineering class started out at a CC. Shit was pretty impressive.

an exam with little relation to what they learn in school

That's the whole point. It's a test of students' reasoning ability, not a test of how well they can regurgitate information that they've memorized. I think it's fair to question why it's run by a private company instead of the DoE but as for the content matter it's not supposed to be a test of memorized knowledge.

Using a test to gauge how well people will do in college (which will boil down to test taking) makes a good deal of sense. The design of the test is a whole other matter. SAT scores aren't indicative of college performance, and aren't like most college tests in that they aren't based on memorization or applying learned materials.

We don't IRL. I see that on reddit a lot.

ITT: people insisting not only the College Board is a scam, but that college itself is a scam because they wern't ambitious enough. also ITT: the stereotypical redditor

Seriously. I got a 2030 on my SAT and I graduated high school with a 2.3 GPA because I fucked off and never did homework because I was depressed and bored by the subjects. Never took any prep classes for it. The test is easy as hell.

No it wouldn't. You would lose access to all modern day luxuries, including not having to keep cash on hand, electricity to keep your food longer, clean water coming straight to your home. All of these things run on our internet.

Most Ivy Leagues no longer accept AP credits, meaning that test most students are forced to pay for OR schools are forced to pay for mean nothing.

Genuinely curious why this is relevant since less than 1% of students go to Ivy League institutions. Most students in the AP program end up going to above average state schools or private institutions which still generally accept AP credits or factor the amount of AP classes taken into their college admissions criteria.

I watched the video, I and I still don’t see the problem with them. They provide a great opportunity with the AP program, they give out scholarships to exemptional students, and they administer a university admissions test. The video itself admitted it was counterproductive to have more than one. They are what is called a “natural monopoly”, having more than one of them would be pointless.