title: "Code.org and the College Board - what's the catch and is it a cash cow?" date: "2015-05-19" tags:

  • policy


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<div id="outline-container-sec-1" class="outline-2"> <h2 id="sec-1"></h2> <div class="outline-text-2" id="text-1"> <p> Big announcement the other day. Code.org will be partnering with the College Board. </p>

<p> They'll help school's adopt their CS courses and provide funding for Code.org's professional development. </p>

<p> You can read about it on Code.org's blog <a href="http://blog.code.org/post/118964845433/college-board-and-code-org-announce-an-alliance-to">here</a> and a USA Today article <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/05/14/codeorg-college-board-computer-science-high-school-diversity/27304593/">here</a>. </p>

<p> Already it's made it's rounds with Alfred Thompson giving his take on his blog over <a href="http://blog.acthompson.net/2015/05/expanding-computing-educationare-we.html">here</a>. </p>

<p> Sounds terrific. </p>

<p> I'm not sold. </p>

<p> I do believe that Code.org has the best of intentions and they've been front and center on the PR front for CS Education - that's great but they also seem to be taking that startup mentality - scale, scale, scale, fast, fast, fast. It's the drop in curriculum plus PD approach. I wrote about it about a month ago <a href="http://cestlaz.github.io/2015/03/04/expedient-vs-good.html#.VVvHnt-c30o">here</a>. I hope I'm wrong, but we'll see. </p>

<p> What I really want to comment on here is the whole College Board piece. The kicker is the PSAT 8/9 - a new PSAT exam for eighth and ninth graders. The Code.org blog says that schools will be encouraged to use this exam. The USA Today piece says that schools that use the PSAT 8/9 will receive funding to subsidize the Code.org stuff. </p>

<p> Either way, it's a concern. </p>

<p> As it stands, kids have to take either the SAT or ACT for college acceptance (for the most part). I know that now the College Board says that the SAT measures college readiness but I recall a few years ago they proudly proclaimed that the SAT could only predict one thing: how a student would do on the next SAT. </p>

<p> So, if the SAT has little value, the PSAT has less, other than possible entry to scholarships. Taking the test down to eight or ninth grade seems to have little to no value for students and don't tell me that an SAT style test in the 8th grade can determine if you'll be a good computer scientist or not. </p>

<p> What is it about? </p>

<p> Call me cynical, but I think the College Board is looking for a new cash cow. </p>

<p> Districts push the PSAT 8/9 saying it's good for kids and force the kids to take an additional test. Since schools and districts typically pay for the PSAT, the taxpayers fork over money year after year and funnel it to the College Board and get no real value in return. To make it all seem kosher, the College Board kicks in a little for the Code.org training, for whatever that's worth. </p> </div> </div>