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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

College Board Chaos

ikLZxELKlWEAI give up.  Really.  “Uncle!”  Enough is enough.

It appears that the educational powers that be are conspiring against… our children heading to college-!  Shocking, surprising, unbelievable if we were not going through this for ourselves.  We have been placed smack-dab in a holding pattern that feels like a noose around the neck.

What am I talking about?

The College Boards.

Let me explain.

Starting last April/May, we telephoned high schools near and far in an attempt to find one to “allow” our homeschooled first-born son to take the PSAT exam at their lofty institution.  There are no central testing centers, other than local schools.  And local schools do not want to be “bothered” by homeschoolers.

We called.  And called.  And called.  Not a soul would return our calls.

“Oh yes, he’s in,” the main office assured us.

Yet, he would never return our call.  April, May, June, July, August.  We gave up and went to yet another school.SAT

No return calls there, either.  The person “handling” the PSAT changed from a guidance counselor to a vice principal.  Still no return calls.

September.  I ask Benedetto to go there in person.  He does.

Success, though we never receive a confirmational e-mail stating specifics of when to arrive nor what to bring.  We call again.  The powers that be have changed again.

“Just come,” they say, and so, we show up at the appointed time.  Never mind that the test begins a couple of hours late, our son is prepared with everything but his Social Security number, so he places a last-minute call to us.  They told him to bring pencils, now they ask why he brought pencils, they have pencils.

Kinda crazy.  You get the idea.

college-connectors-sidebar-psat4-300x242Takes the test, and we never hear back again.  No results arrive in the mail in December, as it should for homeschoolers.  We call the school.  They say to call the College Board.

We do, and get the royal run-around.  Put on hold, transferred here, transferred there, put on hold, disconnected.  We log hour after hour.  One says it’s a problem with CollegeBoard.com, the other says it’s a problem with CollegeBoard.org.  They say they’ll call back.  They never do.

I use up my phone minutes, on hold with their horrible music.  I take off my earring as it bores into my ear with over an hour at a stretch of phone transfers and being on hold.

We e-mail.  They say they’ll respond within a couple of days.

None of it ever works.  I call again.  They send me to the “Students with Disabilities” office due to our son’s do-colleges-look-at-psat-scores“Accommodations”.

Huh?  What disabilities?  What accommodations?

“You mean that he’s a homeschooler?” I wonder.

“That’s not a disability.”

“You mean that English is not his native language?” I try again.

“No, that would not be a disability.”

“Then how did my son suddenly become disabled?!”  I’m in shock.

“Look, we have it marked in his file that there’s a hold on his records because of his accommodations….”

“What accommodations?  I’m beginning to feel that I need some accommodations….”

studying-for-the-psat-oh-joyThey promise to send us the scores and we will receive them within 7-10 days.  Nothing comes.  They promise to speak with a supervisor and call us back.  Several don’t, one finally does, and it never brings us any resolution.  They promise to give us a secret code to access the scores online, but never do.

IT’S BEEN SIX MONTHS.  MY SON DOES NOT YET HAVE HIS PSAT SCORES.  COME ON!

We phone the school.  They will not answer their phone.  We are connected to voice-mail after voice-mail.  No one calls us back.

The College Board says that they need a form from the high school-????  The school reportedly tells the College Board that they don’t know when they will be able to get around to filling out the form.

We call the school.  They don’t respond.  We e-mail them.  They don’t respond.  We’re not even sure if this is the real deal, AskExperts3or if someone is simply passing the buck again.   We call the PSAT, they make us go through the loop again and again, being reconnected back to the people with whom we began in the first place.

So this spring, my son will not be taking the SAT in his junior year of high school.  For what?  Would he ever receive his scores from that?  How do we assess his progress on standardized tests without any results?  Why is there such a bias against homeschoolers?  Why is there no centralized testing center for the PSAT, such as a university, or wherever one would take similar standardized tests?

Teacher-friends have offered to make a few phone calls.  No luck.

The PSAT has our son’s scores, we need the scores, and they won’t fork them over.  How difficult is this to resolve?   We have a “file”, a case number, and still no scores.

All that we can conclude:  why would we want our children in this system of education, where they can’t seem to process one simple exam?  Is this rocket science?

Have you ever heard of such a thing?

 

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13 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    I had anxiety just reading your post. That is just terrible. Have you tried to get in touch with David Coleman, the President of the College Board? I imagine you know quite a few people in quite a few places and maybe it is time to pull in a favor and see if a “name” might reach him if you can’t. Just a thought.

  2. avatar hoonew says:

    Wow- I assume you have talked to other homeschoolers about this? And they don’t have this problem? A nightmare! Maybe he did so well, they are “investigating” for “irregularities.”

    • avatar admin says:

      Thanks, hoonew. We’re not in touch with a lot of groups due to our travel schedule. However, we’re headed to a HS conv. right now and we will ask around. Thanks for the idea.

      • avatar hoonew says:

        You should ask the online homeschooling community- bet you are already on a group or two already. You’ll get many answers quickly, and often there is a consensus about the problem; much like you have seen in the online adoption community. Hope this resolves fast.

  3. avatar sarah says:

    Alexandra, This is the craziest thing I have ever heard! I like the idea of contacting the head of the board from the post above. I would get a lawyer involved. This is very odd. It sounds to me like they have lost the scores or don’t have them. Even if he was “disabled?” why on earth would that mean they would be with held. SO strange and it sounds you aren’t getting the whole story. I am so sorry to hear this! annoying!?! I wonder did he do so well they don’t want to give out the scores as they fear he cheated? I also would go in to the school and chat them up. Bring Petya and explain the situation. I find face to face and a smile goes a very long way…..you could show up at the school with said form and fill it out so all they have to do is sign it? It shouldn’t be this hard….

    • avatar admin says:

      That’s the thing, Sarah. We don’t know what the form is, or why we need one. So I guess we’ll have to call the good ole College Board AGAIN. Aiiiyggghh!!! I sent some e-mails to the school (cc to Principal) and the first person (maybe a guidance counselor?) said she had an assistant principal checking into it. That was last night. Today: zippo.

      The college board seems to think that his test might have been put into an envelope or bundled with other “special” students, rather than put together with the rest of the school population’s-? Who knows? Who cares? PSAT has the scores and I want them NOW.

      I’m at a homeschooling convention right now (lol) and I’ll have to get on it on Monday. What a mess. Thanks for your encouragement!

  4. avatar sarah says:

    You poor things! This sounds like something that should be happening faraway in a cold country with a ton of snow and blini. Please keep us updated. I am so angry for Petya. The more I think about it the more it sounds as if they don’t have his test. Why the runaround if they have it? I hope I am wrong.

    Hope you are enjoying your conference! We are having our great little Oligarch friend coming to play tomorrow ….remember the neglected one? I adore him, he is a wise little soul. He takes care of my Sasha all day at school. They are so close. Sasha now calls himself Sashka And our little friend calls himself by his Russian diminutive. I am corrected by both when I make a mistake. The little Oligarch’s birthday is in two weeks and there are no party plans at all. I have told the teacher I am going to send in cupcakes and balloons that I will get and drop off so the kids don’t know I am bringing them. Lastly, There is a big Russian Festival in Trafalgar Square this Saturday. SHould be great fun for my little foodies to eat themselves silly and watch some Russian Folk Dancing.

    • avatar admin says:

      How wonderful that you are taking care of the little Oligarch, Sarah! Sometimes there are cultural things that just don’t translate, like cupcakes and balloons. How sweet of you. I saw an ad for Trafalgar Square a few weeks back, sounds like fun!

      That’s what I really think, too: somebody lost his test. I mean, why else the stalling? Just give the kid a 4-year scholarship for all of our trouble and be done with it. 🙂 tee-hee!

  5. avatar melin says:

    So, I think it is personal:)

    Because how it worked for my homeschooled child was this: Called local school and said we wanted son to sit for the test. School ordered an additional copy. Son took test. Scores delivered to our house within a few weeks (before public school kids had theirs back).

    This is my question for you – did your son fill in the specific HOMESCHOOL code the day he took the test? You know, fill in the bubbles kind of thing. Schools will have their school code on the blackboard for public school kids to use . They should have indicated the HOMESCHOOL code, as well. It’s like maybe a 5 or 6 digit code so my son went in having memorized it. Without that code, one can only imagine where it landed.

    Not having the score would unsettle me. Not because I’d be dying to know the score, just that it means your son’s private information is not so private. Somebody has it recorded somewhere. Hopefully the paper trails doesn’t arrive at the wrong place somewhere down the line. Wrong and reckless, as my least favorite president said in November.

    I have stories of when this same son applied to college. Not homeschool specific stories, per se (Except William and Mary underwhelmed me bc they wanted so much more from the homeschool applicant than they did the traditional student. More as in additional AP Exams).

    I tracked all of my son’s applications, receipt of his standardized test scores, etc. Of ten colleges, only two had the whole package noted correctly. Seriously. Everybody got everything, but there were errors in all but two of the colleges. Like, standardized test scores were incorrect whether it was individual section scores or total score or actual test date. Making my son’s applications appear untruthful. Spent 168 hours getting details sorted out using documentation I had. And then his applications were reviewed with mis information. This would be human error – at some point somebody has to transcribe the data they receive from college board or ACT board.

    I realize you don’t have an easy comparison having homeschooled your kids from the start but the drama you describe is common. Details are different but inefficiencies galore in statist education. Sad.

    • avatar admin says:

      Thanks, Melin, yes, he did fill out the homeschool code for our “state” (DC – taxation without representation). I don’t think it’s because we’re homeschoolers, as in I don’t believe we’re being persecuted/targeted, I just think they’re all terribly inefficient as you say. It’s probably something with the local high school since they didn’t seem to want to be bothered with us (actually several schools we approached like this). But I would imagine that the PSAT office has the scores? This is just too weird. I think our son will have to go to abroad/online for college….

  6. avatar Rose says:

    Maybe it all started when you wanted one of those “LOFTY” schools of many ,many students to give you answers about home schoolers. Your beef should be with the company that gives the test, or the state, not the public schools. I could tell after reading a few sentences that you consider yourself a “very important” person.

    • avatar admin says:

      Probably “important” enough to think that our son should receive his test scores after six months (?), and that schools can find a minute to return a phone call to those of us in their community who pay taxes to support their existence…. And yes, we’re getting to the bottom of it, and yes, it’s the school’s fault, it appears. We’ll update soon.

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