Gateway to the Colleges:
An Examination of the College Entrance Board
Men of the woods and lumberjacks, They judged me by their appropriate tool. Except as a fellow handled an axe They had no way of knowing a fool.
-Robert Frost “Two Tramps in Mud Time”
NOT the least of problems in American education is the question of who may or should go to college. The question is answered, for any particular youngster, by such considerations as his school marks, his family’s bank account, his health, his social “maturity,” his athletic skill or extra-curricular “leadership,” his name and ancestry, and his ability to do well on certain kinds of examinations. This last is generally more important than any of the others. A rapidly increasing number of colleges and universities require examinations, and in a few years almost all will require them.
The examinations are constructed, administered, and graded by the College Entrance Examination Board. The College Board, as it is usually called, has been since 1948 part of Educational Testing Services, a super-galaxy embracing almost all the known universe of testing. ETS examines candidates for secondary schools, law schools, medical schools, the Coast Guard Academy, and graduate schools; it examines anaesthetists, pupils in Lutheran high schools, obstetricians, and surgeons. It sets the Selective Service College Qualification Test, used to determine draft deferments. It experiments with tests for personality and tolerance; for aptitude and vocation for the ministry; and for measurement of general ability and mastery of specific information in schools and colleges. Though it is somewhat inaccurate to speak of ETS and the College Board as if they were the same organization, it is convenient and usual. Their directorates are firmly interlocking, their philosophy and practice identical. And it is the older organization, the College Board, which tests over 650,000 students for admission to college and over a half million competitors for the big national scholarships.
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