The Ivy Coach Daily

May 5, 2021

A Call for The College Board to Change Its AP Testing Policy

MIT banned the submission of SAT Subject Tests this year. Now, SAT Subject Tests are no more. Kind of like horse and carriages at MIT.

Back in January, The College Board announced the elimination of the SAT Subject Tests. The SAT Subject Tests had long been one of The College Board’s major lines of business but the organization, facing the toughest year it has faced in its history, saw the writing on the wall. With so many highly selective universities switching to test-optional and with some institutions, like Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, going so far as to ban the submission of SAT Subject Tests, the exams were on their last legs. So The College Board simply pulled the plug on them before they went extinct, saving a little bit of face in the process. But we would argue that the organization didn’t just pull the plug on the exams to save face. They also did so to further put their might behind one of their thriving — and more important — lines of business: Advanced Placement exams. Yes, AP Tests are as important now as ever and by eliminating SAT Subject Tests, the AP Tests, naturally, become even more important.

The College Board Needs to Make It Easier for Students to Take AP Exams

With this in mind, we issue a directive to The College Board today: change your policy so students don’t need to ask their high schools for permission to take AP Tests. At present, students need to ask their schools to administer the exams and high schools do have the right to say no. Most, of course, don’t say no — but some do. And that’s not fair to the students who attend these high schools. The school counselors and administrators at these high schools offer a variety of reasons why they won’t allow a student to take certain AP Tests, including our absolute favorite: “Elite colleges don’t value AP scores. They’re a thing of the past.” And water is dry. Of course, we don’t advise our students and parents to correct these school counselors since these same school counselors will be writing recommendations on behalf of our students — but they’re wrong, very wrong. And they are doing a disservice to their students to not allow them to take these exams. What’s it to them?

The Change Would Not Only Serve Students But Also The College Board’s Bottom Line

It’s time for The College Board to take the power out of the hands of these decision-makers and put the power in the hands of the students who wish to take the exams. Heck, if there is anything we know about The College Board, the organization’s bottom line is everything. By making this move, more students will be able to sit for AP Tests — and in more subjects, even subjects they don’t happen to take at their high schools. Students shouldn’t be restricted to taking these exams at their high school with their authorization. Like with the SAT, and previously with the SAT Subject Tests, students should be able to take them at any high school they’d like. And if the tests are going to be administered exclusively online in the future, even better — just make sure students don’t need the permission of their high schools to sign up for the tests. The time for change, in the interest of parity, is now, College Board. And, heck, it serves your bottom line too so make it happen.

Agree with us? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts on The College Board’s administration of AP Tests by posting a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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