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Just another brick in the wall

Eli Maxwell, Sports Editor

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     Last school year when I was scheduling classes, my counselor asked me if I was comfortable taking three AP classes. Of course I am. Junior year needs to be difficult. Colleges love seeing AP classes on applications and I want college credit so I can carry at least a little less debt later in life. I stepped into the world of AP and into the world of College Board.

    Little did I know that I was stepping into a world of busy work and standardized tests that only see me as a statistic.

    The College Board has a virtual monopoly on the American education system. According to Doug Martin, educational researcher and author of the book Hoosier School Heist, College Board makes about $77 million in annual profit and brought in about $916 million in revenue in 2015. However, they market themselves as a not for profit organization, thus avoiding any responsibility to pay federal taxes.

   College Board controls some of the most important aspects of college applications and admissions like the SAT, PSAT, ISTEP, and AP testing. This has led to a faceless, soulless approach education nationwide. Stephen Fox, the director of the writing program at IUPUI, said, “College Board exams lead to standardization in education, which to me is not good. It’s fine to have professional standards, developed by educators in a field, which can guide teachers, but every school and indeed every classroom is different. Good teachers must be able to adapt to their students, in that situation, that time and place.” AP exams and standardized tests take away a student’s right to an individualized education. Students are no longer being met where they are and are instead left behind and forced to try and catch up.

    This one-way road to higher education damages students, during and after high school. AP courses require an entire school year for one final exam at the end of the term.

“How can a nationally-developed test allow a student to show the depth and breadth of her learning? How can such a test foster creativity and curiosity and adaptability?” Fox said. “It might be one thing if such tests were used as one small indicator of some basic student achievement or understanding. Instead, these tests become overly important, determining college admissions, scholarships, admission to graduate programs, etc.”

    College Board leaves students feeling like they’re less than worthy. Drowning in AP classes and sacrificing your sanity for a test is becoming an expectation for every student. While high performance is not anything to be discouraged, people have to keep in mind that standardized tests are in no way a foolproof indicator of future success.

    “I think we, as a society, need to ask ourselves what it means to be successful,” Martin said. “Success should not be measured merely by the amount of money one has made.  It should be measured by how much true meaning one has attempted to find in one’s life and how well we have treated others.  It should be measured by how well we have attempted to understand why we are alive.”

    As College Board continues to grow, the American education system continues to die. College Board is the leech sucking the life out of individualized education and fueling the growing notion that students are no more than statistics on a testing sheet.

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Just another brick in the wall