No Summer SAT

The College Board has cancelled a planned SAT program after critics labeled it the “rich kids SAT.” That’s because it sort of was. According to a piece at Inside Higher Ed:

The College Board… on Tuesday announced that it was abandoning plans to test out an August administration of the SAT this year. Many high school students want a summer option for taking the SAT, but many college and high school officials were upset by the College Board’s plan to try out the idea with a summer program of the National Society for the Gifted and Talented — a program whose $4,500 price tag led many educators to call the pilot a “rich kids SAT.”

A summer SAT would actually be somewhat convenient for many high school students, who then could take the SAT undistracted by the pressures of regular school. They could also spend a lot more time studying for the test.

But the College Board’s plan to offer that special summer SAT only to students enrolled in a course that costs $4,500 was pretty controversial.

“Granting an opportunity to take the exam outside the regular academic year and after intense SAT coaching only to an economically elite segment of the college-going population is blatantly unfair,” said Elizabeth Stone of FairTest.

And so the College Board backed down. Earlier this week it announced that it would not administer the summer SAT because,

Certain aspects of this [$4,500 summer course] run counter to our mission of promoting equity and access, as well as to our beliefs about SAT performance. The SAT was created to democratize access to education, and innumerable third-party studies have demonstrated that SAT performance is directly related to the type and rigor of course work pursued by students during high school. To send any other message, even inadvertently, is contradictory to our beliefs and decades of SAT performance data.

While we are still very much committed to exploring the concept of a summer administration, we will postpone piloting such an initiative until we can do so in a manner that better aligns with our mission and the students we serve. Steps also are being taken internally to ensure that future initiatives receive the appropriate level of senior management review.

Why does “senior management review” matter here? The concept was structurally unjust.

Still, now that College Board has cancelled the SAT test, one wonders about the kids in the NSGT summer class. Can they cancel at this point and go to camp like normal kids? Do their parents get their money back?

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer