Ode to College board

By Obse Abebe

It’s full length, Obse. This year’s APUSH [Advanced Placement US History] exam is FULL LENGTH.”

This was the delightful text that I woke up to a few weeks ago during semester one finals. It proved to me that if anyone has persevered through this pandemic, it has been College Board. I find this organization responsible for ruining the mental health of millions of teens across the globe with their standardized tests ranging from SATs to APs. Regardless, College Board takes pride in their ethical approach to education, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re committed to helping students earn college credit, despite covid-19,” stated Trevor Packer, Senior Vice President of College Board. Packer has been true to his word. Despite a deadly disease that ravaged the physical and mental health of students, College Board will continue to administer their stressful and competitive tests. Despite the millions who became financially unstable, College Board is committed to having students’ families still pay for tests. Despite the closure of libraries and the high costs of study books which bars many low-income students from studying well, College Board still claims to be helping us students.

I personally have not felt the warmth of their benevolence. Instead, I feel suffocated with the pressure of affording these exams, both monetarily and mentally. I’m more than an exam score and yet I question myself when remembering that colleges mainly award credit to those who score 4’s and 5’s, which is a minority of student testers. It’s a trap that College Board has orchestrated to exploit students while not even guaranteeing us college credit.

This lack of educational equity drove me to choose the IB [International Baccalaureate] program next year instead of AP [Advanced Placement] classes. This program doesn’t dictate whether or not you receive college credit based on one exam score. There are multiple written assignments and projects that are also incorporated into your score. The only pitfall is that IB exams cost more than AP exams. It seems like you can never win in the American education system, but rather pick your poison and cross your fingers.

That’s right. The devil works hard, but educational inequity works harder.