Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The College Board: Or How To Mess with Millions of Minds

I took the PSATs some almost 60 years ago. Going to a Christian Brothers High School, a classic education for boys who were destined to be cogs in the wheel of civilization, not necessarily leaders, we took this test with zero preparation. We just came in one day and were told to take this test. Needless to say I paid little attention since it was a way to avoid Cicero in Latin 3 and I had not prepared my translation. Thus my score was dismal.

Then I found out what it meant. I was told by this body of the elite, the College Board, that my life was now determined, indeed I should prepare for Con Ed or possibly the NY Sanitation Department. Perhaps a Bus Driver.

Well I decided to study for the SAT, something the College Board said was not useful. Now the following Fall, early December, I took the SATs. Results, I recall it was almost 800 in Math and over 700 in English, somewhat over 1500 if I recall. More than double the PSAT equivalent. And I found two errors on the exam which I promptly wrote the College Board about and I also finished in half the time. Amazing what a little prep will do. And yes, NOT listening to that collection of educational "experts" at the College Board. Even since I have given NO credit to any College Board score.

Now comes the latest set of characters to destroy the minds of young Americans, the Common Core money makers. This time it is the PSAT, that old exam I remember, given in October with scores issued in December, but now with the present management. They did not come out until just a couple of days ago. In the age of computers one would have thought otherwise, but alas, these highly paid "educators" managed to show students just what not to do if they want to succeed in a highly competitive world.

As the Washington Post notes:

The College Board has just released PSAT scores — months after the tests were actually taken in high schools. About one-quarter of the students who took the test have accessed their scores online, though some have experienced trouble getting them, and many counselors who were supposed to get them have also had trouble doing so. Problems with score delivery has also plagued the SAT this past fall, frustrating students and counselors...vice president for communications at the College Board, said a new online scoring system created to accommodate scoring reports for the newly designed SAT, which is launching this coming spring, is to blame. She said that initial testing did not reveal “large-scale issues” but a series of “small issues” that are being fixed as they present themselves.

One cannot "blame" the "system", one must blame the management.  The WaPo concludes:

Yes, College Board is in the business of selling SATs and ACT in the business of selling ACTs, and you may hate to fill their coffers. But, as most universities require standardized tests for admissions, your focus is just in doing well and then getting back to normal life. Or, if these tests simply aren’t your thing or you simply refuse to partake, mosey over to FairTest to check out hundreds of score-optional colleges and universities.

 Namely the time to end the SATs is NOW. It will only get worse. You have what in my opinion is a collection of overly paid political job holders establishing norms for American students and the result is that we have managed in my opinion to destroy the lives of our future contributors. The SAT does NOT work in my experience and in my opinion. It can be gamed. It fills the pockets of folks rather than the minds of students.

The Academy should abandon it this year!

To better understand the problem one should read the Huffington Post. Their write states:

David Coleman was at the center of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) development, a position about which he publicly declared post-CCSS that he and others in his Student Achievement Partners (SAP) nonprofit were "unqualified." One year later, in 2012, Coleman became president of the College Board, where he thought he would tinker with the SAT "so that it better meets the needs of students, schools, and colleges at all levels." Coleman's tinkering isn't going so well. In fact, he could well drive the College Board into the ground as his bumbling efforts for an SAT redesign (one that makes the SAT look more like the ACT) results in "updated" messages to test takers and their parents as scores are delayed. Such was the case for students who took the October 14, 2015, SAT and counted upon the College Board to deliver timely scores for early admissions. Their scores-which were supposed to be delivered using the College Board's new score reporting system-were delayed for more than three weeks beyond the common November 1st deadline. And now, students who took the mid-October PSAT are also facing score reporting delays.

 This appears as if it is another version of the current White House staff. Namely people who have nor extensive career experience. The NSC leadership in the White House is someone with an MFA from NYU. Understanding Picasso and DaVinci may not be the best skills for dealing with Putin and Iran! Why the College Board is not staffed with competent carrer folks in my opinion is amazing. But it appears to be devastating for students, and I have two grandchildren in the middle of this mess now!

So to repeat, abandon the College Board, now!