Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How Did the College Board Think They Knew So Much About My Son?

 By Lorri Gumanow, NY BAT and member of the BAT Leadership Team

The PSAT is being administered today for no charge to all NYC high school sophomores. After the College Board denied my son his test accommodations that have been on his IEP since the 2nd grade, requesting additional medical and psychological evaluations (even though all his evaluations are current according to their guidelines), and telling me that since the College Board is a private corporation they don't have to follow special education regulations, and saying that their "experts" don't see a need for his test accommodations based on his school grades and past standardize -- we are opting out of the PSAT and the SAT!

This leaves me thinking - how did the College Board think they knew so much about my son? Data -mining! When I spoke to the person from the College Board, they have all the confidential documents that are in my son's special education file. They have all the reports from neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists -- all of them -- scanned into the College Board's computers -- and I was never asked permission for my son's high school to do this. Then their experts decided he really didn't have a disability that warranted his test accommodations on their test. And if I disagreed, I needed to pay for further proof. This same scenario seems to be playing out over and over for students with mild disabilities across the country. School officials then tell parents and students that if they can't get all the additional evaluations in time not to worry, because the PSAT is just a practice test.

Now we have this press release from the NYC DOE, regarding results of NYC students on the recent SATs, and how wonderful the students are doing, after receiving some type of in-school supports/test prep.
It seems to me that the College Board's collaboration with the DOE is another opportunity for Big Data to get confidential information about our children without parental permission, especially students with disabilities.

Who said parents of high school students can't opt out? Who wants to join me? Remember that many colleges, according to FairTest, are not requiring SATs anymore because they do not see them as good predictors of college success. Meanwhile, look at the rhetoric in this press release about predicting college success. Is this where the DOE is getting the metrics for college readiness?

What do you think?


  1. Have you been able to access your child's educational records and a record of with whom the Department of Ed shared this information? It is your right, by law, to see this information. There are four levels of data being collected on our children. Our school districts can only get to the first layer of data. Only the US DoE and your state's DoE can obtain all levels of information. I've been trying for a year to obtain this. If you know how, please contact me. (

  2. Thanks for the info! If hundreds of us do this together, perhaps we can save future students' data from being collected and used inappropriately!