The College Board, which offers its SAT college entrance exam seven times during the school year, is under pressure to cancel a plan that allows a group of gifted students to take the test later this summer.
The problem? The Aug. 3 test date will be available only to students whose families can afford a three-week college-prep program, which is being advertised as costing as much as $4,495. And the summer prep program includes several days of coaching by a for-profit test-prep company, a practice that the College Board discourages.
"Granting the 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," says a letter, delivered Monday to the College Board. It was signed by the non-profit National Center for Fair & Open Testing, or FairTest, a longstanding critic of standardized tests, and by Elizabeth Stone, an educational consultant in San Mateo, Calif., who raised questions with the College Board in a letter last month.