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The College Board is an association in the United States that was formed in 1900 as the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). It is composed of more than 5,900 schools, colleges, universities and other educational organizations. It sells standardized tests used by academically oriented post-secondary education institutions to measure a student's ability. The College Board is headquartered in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City.[1] David Coleman has been the president of College Board since October 2012. He replaced Gaston Caperton, former Governor of West Virginia, who had held this position since 1999.[2][3]

In addition to managing tests for which it charges fees, the College Board works with programs that claim to increase achievement by poor and minority middle and high school students. Funded by grants from various foundations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the College Board Schools operate autonomously within New York City public school buildings. A similar program named EXCELerator began a pilot program for the 2006–2007 school year at 11 schools in Washington, D.C.; Jacksonville/Duval County, Florida; and Chicago Public Schools.[4] Both of these school reform programs use the SpringBoard and CollegeEd materials as part of their programs.

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College Board headquarters in Manhattan, New York City


The College Board maintains a numbered registry of countries, college majors, colleges, scholarship programs, test centers, and high schools. In the United States, in addition to the College Board's internal use this registry is borrowed by other institutions as a means of unambiguous identification; thus, a student might give his or her guidance department not only a college's name and address, but also its CEEB code, to ensure that his or her transcript is sent correctly. There exists a similar set of ACT codes for colleges and scholarships, centers, and high schools, however these codes are less widely used outside ACT, Inc.

College Board Tests


The SAT Reasoning Test is a fee-based, standardized test for college admissions in the United States first administered in 1926. [5] The SAT is administered by the College Board corporation in the United States and is developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). SAT Subject Tests are said to measure student performance in specific areas, such as mathematics, science, and history. In the marketplace, the SAT competes with another organization's standardized college admission's test called the ACT.

The SAT is an aptitude test, meaning that it tests a person's ability to analyze and solve problems. It focuses on writing, reading, and mathematics. SAT scores range from 600 to 2,400, with each of the 3 sections being worth 200–800 points. This is a timed test that currently allots three hours and 45 minutes, and costs $50. Most students take the test during their junior or senior year of high school.


PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It's a fee-based standardized test that provides first-hand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test. It also functions as a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation scholarship programs.

Advanced Placement Program

The College Board's Advanced Placement Program is an extensive program that offers high school students the chance to participate in what they describe as college level classes for a fee, reportedly broadening their intellectual horizons and preparing them for college work. It also plays a large part in the college admissions process, showing students' intellectual capacity and genuine interest in learning. The program allows many students to gain college credit for high performance on the AP exams, much in the same manner as the CLEP. Granting credit, however, is still at the discretion of the college. Critics of the Advanced Placement Program charge that courses and exams focus on breadth of content coverage instead of depth. There are 2,900 colleges that grant credit and/or advanced standing.

College Level Examination Program

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) provides students of any age with the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through a program of exams in undergraduate college courses.


The College Board's Accuplacer test is a computer-based placement test that assesses reading, writing and math skills.[6] The Accuplacer test includes reading comprehension, sentence skills, arithmetic, elementary algebra, college-level mathematics and the writing test, Writeplacer. The Accuplacer test is used primarily by more than 1,000 high schools and colleges[7] to determine a student's needed placement. Often community colleges have specific guidelines for students requiring the Accuplacer test. The Accuplacer Companion paper-and-pencil tests allows for students with disabilities to take the test through its braille, large print and audio tests. The biggest benefit of the Accuplacer and Accuplacer Companion tests are its ability to be scored immediately through an online scoring system and taken in remote locations. While there are normally no fees for taking the test, some institutions may charge a fee to retake the test. Note that if your institution is not local and has no centers locally you may be required to arrange a proctor for the test. If so your local library may be willing to proctor for you as there are not many other options for individuals in this case. Most schools will only test their own admissions candidates.


Spring Board is a pre-Advanced Placement program created by the College Board to prepare students who intend to take AP courses or college-level courses in their scholastic career. Based on Wiggins and McTighe's Understanding by Design model, the SpringBoard program attempts to map knowledge into scholastic skill sets in preparation for Advanced Placement testing and college success. Units of instruction are titrated to students within and across all school grades, providing a vertically articulated curriculum framework that scaffolds learning skills and subject test knowledge. Implicit in the course curriculum, the program embeds pre-AP and AP teaching and learning strategies across grade school levels and classwork.

The curriculum is applicable to grades 6 through 12. Teachers are provided with formative assessments, professional training, and a variety of teaching tools to track student progress. The instructional framework is integrated in the curriculum content and subject materials. SpringBoard also provides other Web 2.0 resources aimed at making the program more community oriented.

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE

The College Board also offers the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, a financial aid application service that many institutions use in determining family contribution and financial assistance packages. This is a fee-based service to institutions and students also must pay a fee to submit it to a school.


Since at least the late 1970s, the College Board has been subject to criticism from students, educators, and consumer rights activists. College Board owns the most widely used college admissions exams, and many students must take SAT exams for admission to competitive colleges. Although the ACT is usually accepted as an alternative to the SAT, some colleges require students to take the SAT subject tests. Some colleges also require students submit a College Board "CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE" when applying for financial aid. As there are no broadly accepted alternatives to the College Board's AP, SAT Subject Test, and CSS/Financial Aid products, the company is often criticized as exploiting its monopoly on these products.

Consumer rights organization Americans for Educational Testing Reform (AETR) has criticized College Board for violating its non-profit status through excessive profits and exorbitant executive compensation; nineteen of its executives make more than $300,000 per year, with CEO Gaston Caperton earning $1.3 million in 2009 (including deferred compensation).[8][9] AETR also claims that College Board is acting unethically by selling test preparation materials, directly lobbying legislators and government officials, and refusing to acknowledge test-taker rights.[10]

Exam fees

The SAT Reasoning Test costs $51 ($77 if late), the AP Tests cost US $89 (for the May 2013 administration),[11] and the SAT Subject Tests cost a baseline of $24.50 with a $13 fee for each test.[12] Some feel the testing fees can be prohibitive for many individuals. Furthermore, there are numerous other services that can be added to the basic costs, including late registration, score verification services, and various answering services that are available. SAT score reports cost $11.00 per college for 1–2-week electronic delivery, or 2–4-week paper or disk delivery, depending on what method the school requires ($31.00 extra for 2-day processing). The College Board allows high school administrators to authorize fee waivers for some services to students from low-income families, generally those meeting National School Lunch Act criteria.[13] In addition, due to the competitive nature of the test, many students find it necessary to take preparatory courses or to have SAT tutoring, which can cost hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars.

Even the College Board's College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS), a college financial aid application meant to help students pay for college, requires a fee. For the 2008–09 school year, the price is $25 for the first report sent and an additional $16 for each additional college to receive the information.

In 2006, the College Board had $582.9 million of revenue but spent only $527.8 million, leaving a $55.1 million surplus.[14]

MIT study

In 2005, MIT Writing Director Les Perelman plotted essay length versus essay score on the new SAT from released essays and found a high correlation between them. After studying 23 graded essays he found that the longer the essay was, the higher the score it was given. Perelman found that he could accurately determine the score of an essay without even reading the essay. He also discovered that several of these essays were full of factual inaccuracies, although the College Board does not claim to grade for factual accuracy.

Perelman, along with the National Council of Teachers of English also criticized the 25-minute writing section of the test for damaging standards of writing taught in the classroom. They say that writing teachers training their students for the SAT will not focus on revision, depth, accuracy, but will instead produce long, formulaic, and wordy pieces.[15] "You're getting teachers to train students to be bad writers," concluded Perelman.[16]

Advanced placement (AP) classes

Some teachers have criticized AP classes as restrictive in the nature of their curriculum and yet indispensable due to the importance of AP classes in the college admissions process. The College Board is effectively able to control every aspect of AP classes directly or indirectly. The $92 fee, which is noted critically above, results only in a score report with the test name and grade. No details are given on how this scoring was reached nor are individuals given access to this information from College Board.[17]

Reporting errors

In March 2006, it was discovered that the College Board had misscored several thousand tests taken in October 2005. Although the Board was aware of the error as early as December, it waited months to respond and, in late March, schools still did not have correct details. Within days of the first announcement, the Board corrected upward the number of affected students.[18]

Many colleges use the SAT score to decide acceptance and scholarships. The late reporting of errors upset many high-profile colleges. The dean of admissions at Pomona College commented, "Everybody appears to be telling half-truths, and that erodes confidence in the College Board…It looks like they hired the people who used to do the books for Enron."[18]


Front door of Manhattan HQ in a former Kent Automatic Garages building

Support for DREAM Act

In spring 2012, various news agencies reported that the College Board released a "controversial guide for undocumented students" designed to help these individuals navigate through the college admissions process.[19][20] In 2009, the College Board released a report supporting the DREAM Act, a bill that would legalize illegal aliens in the United States up to age 35 provided they met certain criteria.[21] The Board of Trustees of the College Board voted unanimously in support of the DREAM Act.[22] The College Board works with the national United We DREAM coalition, helping to encourage US legislators to cosponsor the federal DREAM Act.[22]

See also

  • ACT, a test by ACT, Inc., the main competitor to the College Board's SAT
  • College admissions in the United States
  • IB Diploma Programme, a pre-university educational program administered by the International Baccalaureate, the main competitor to the College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) Program


  1. "Contact Us." College Board. Retrieved May 29, 2009.
  2. Leadership at College Board
  3. College Board (16 May 2012). College Board Names David Coleman New President. Press release. Retrieved on 26 July 2013.
  4. College Board (August 31, 2006). New Investment Broadens College Board's National Education Reform Efforts to Ensure More Students Graduate Ready for College and Work. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-11-18.
  5. History of College Board at College Board
  6. Accuplacer at College Board
  7. Placement Testing at Monroe Community College
  8. Costello, Carol. (December 29, 2009). "Educating America: The big business of the SAT", CNN. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  9. College Board Leader Paid More Than Harvard’s. Americans for Educational Testing Reform. URL accessed on 26 July 2013.
  10. AETR Report Card: College Board. Americans for Educational Testing Reform. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  11. Calendar, College Board. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  12. SAT Fees, College Board
  13. How the Fee-Waiver Service Works. College Board. URL accessed on February 10, 2011.
  14. includeonly>Matlin, Chadwick. "Taking the $ATs: A TBM investigation into the gobstopping amounts of money made by nonprofit testing services", Slate, 'Philosophy of Science blog, 13 May 2009. Retrieved on 8 July 2010.
  15. Winerip, Michael. (May 4, 2009) SAT Essay Test Rewards Length and Ignores Errors. The New York Times. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  16. includeonly>Lynn, Harris. "Testing, testing", Salon. Retrieved on 8 July 2010.
  17. AP Test Scores. College Board. URL accessed on July 15, 2011.
  18. 18.0 18.1 includeonly>Arenson, Karen W.. "SAT Problems Even Larger Than Reported", The New York Times, March 23, 2006. Retrieved on March 28, 2010.
  19. includeonly>Groux, Catherine. "College Board Releases Controversial Guide for Undocumented Students", U.S. News University Directory, 5 June 2012.
  20. includeonly>Vasquez, Michael. "College Board creates guide to help undocumented students", 31 May 2012.
  21. College Board Continues Its Support of the DREAM Act at the First Senate Hearing. College Board. URL accessed on 26 July 2013.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Undocumented Students and the DREAM Act. College Board. URL accessed on 26 July 2013.

External links


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