College Board

45 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023

Grade: D


College Board, the only one of the Big 3 to focus on test development over test administration, is the most responsible of the Big 3. Unlike ETS and ACT Inc, it conforms with the non-profit industry's custom of an all-volunteer Board of Trustees. That being said, College Board is equally guilty of overcompensating its top executives. Furthermore, College Board spends more on political lobbying than ETS and ACT Inc combined - it expended a staggering three-quarters of a million dollars in efforts to directly influence legislators and government officials in multiple states.

Facts and Figures

Profit (Gross): $53 million

  • 8.6% of Revenue
  • Profits are 317% of the industry average

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CEO Compensation: $872,061

  • CEO Gaston Caperton is earning 444% of the industry average

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Political Lobbying Expenses: $766,354

  • College Board incurred these expenses while it "attempted to influence national, state, or local legislation, includ[ing] any attempt to influence public opinion on a legislative matter or referendum."

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Specific Areas of Misconduct by College Board

Common Midconduct in the Industry

  1. Exorbitant Officer CompensationCEO Gaston Caperton is being compensated $872,061 per year. That is more than twice the President of the United States's annual salary of $400,000. CollegeBoard's 23 executives make an average of $355,271 per year. These salaries are far too high for a non-profit company. Learn more about the Big 3's exorbitant executive compensation.
  2. Selling Test Preparation MaterialsIt is unethical for a testing company to sell test prep materials because it is morally and legally obligated to treat all test-takers fairly. Selling test materials only gives an advantage to wealthier students - College Board should leave test preparation to unrelated for-profit companies. Learn more about the Big 3's unethical sales of prep materials.
  3. Unacceptable Political ManipulationCollege Board spent more than three quarters of a million dollars in "direct" lobbying in 2009, far more than the rest of the Big 3 combined. This money was used to influence your legislators and government officials to adopt, and even require, College Board tests for various educational and professional purposes. A company is given non-profit status in order to serve the public interest, not to covertly manipulate legislators in order to expand its monopoly position. College Board needs to reign in its extravagant and inappropriate manipulations of our government. Learn more about how the Big 3 manipulate politics.
  4. Massive ProfitsCollege Board earned profits of 8.6% in 2009 - profits that would be respectable for a for-profit company. When a non-profit company is earning those profits, something is wrong. Learn more about the Big 3's big profits.

  5. Inadequate Grading PerformanceDespite repeated criticism over the years, College Board continues to suffer from poor grading performance (including thousands of mis-scored tests in October 2005). Perhaps this is in order to reap greater financial rewards - for example, College Board charges $50 to re-score the SAT exam. Remarkably, even if it is discovered that College Board has graded inaccurately, test-takers are not entitled to a refund of any sort. College Board needs to implement a higher standard of quality assurance in its grading and take responsibility for its errors..

Unique Midconduct to College Board

  1. Contracting with ETSFor decades, College Board has been developing standardized tests, then contracting with ETS (the largest of the "Big 3") to administer them. ETS has an atrocious track record of customer service, grading performance, and ethical responsibility in general. College Board needs to help American test-takers hold ETS responsible.

Financial Records (pdf)

Ongoing News, Complaints and Criticism

College Board Leader Paid More Than Harvard’s

From Bloomberg: The president of the College Board, the nonprofit owner of the SAT entrance exam, has seen his compensation triple since 1999 and now gets more than the head of the American Red Cross, which has more than five … More..

FairTest: No “Pay for Performance” at Testing Companies

From FairTest: Their flagship products, such as the SAT and PRAXIS, are under increasing criticism in the media and the courtroom (see stories, this issue) for poor quality control. But top managers at the College Board and the Educational Testing … More..

SAT Problems Even Larger Than Reported

From The New York Times: The College Board disclosed yesterday that the problems resulting from the misscoring of its October SAT examination were larger than it had previously reported. In a statement, the organization said it discovered last weekend that … More..