Big change—for the better—at College Board

The College Board has grown somnolent and secretive in recent years, raking in huge sums (though it's officially nonprofit) from fees paid to take its well-known tests (APs and SATs above all, as well as sundry other services, such as an online system for matching kids with colleges), while neglecting its social mission, playing little role in the ed-reform wars, and blocking outside researchers from its trove of valuable data. (It much prefers to spin the test results itself.) Enter David Coleman, one of the brighter (and younger) stars in the ed-reform firmament, a major author (and booster) of the Common Core standards, and a passionate, energetic, strong-willed, and persuasive fellow. In October, he'll take the helm of the College Board and, because he can be counted upon to do what he says he's going to do, we can anticipate that "over the next few years, the main thing on the College Board’s agenda is to deliver its social mission. The College Board is not just about measuring and testing, but designing high-quality curriculum.” A worthy change, a smart and timely move, a swell use of the College Board's vast resources, and, potentially, a hefty boost to America's quest to see that its educators have the wherewithal to teach things worth learning. The College Board already contains the means of determining whether the kids have learned it—and considerable capacity to incentivize them to do so.

Backer of Common Core School Curriculum Is Chosen to Lead College Board,” by Tamar Lewin, New York Times, May 16, 2012.

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