Advisory Panel on Student Opportunity Shares Views on Access to Education, Rigorous Coursework
Advisory Panel on Student Opportunity Shares Views on Access to Education, Rigorous CourseworkAndrew Elwell, Associate Director of Digital Communications, College Board
Forum attendees had the opportunity to hear from of the student members of the College Board’s Advisory Panel on Student Opportunity in a wide-ranging discussion covering topics from college search and recruitment to the redesigned SAT to access to rigorous coursework.
The Advisory Panel on Student Opportunity is made up of diverse high school and college student representatives from across the U.S. Members must make a three-year commitment to the panel, and be willing to speak and travel independently, attend annual conferences, and provide the College Board with a student voice. Each year, about 80 applications are received for three new spots on the panel.
“We’re here to remind you that you’re doing this for the students,” panel member Liliana Esquivel said as Tuesday’s session opened.
The students reiterated their passion for the work of the College Board and Forum attendees, noting the passionate opening plenary from Sal Khan as a highlight of the conference so far. The hour long conversation with audience members brought to light several themes:
- Positive outlook on the redesigned SAT: Students expressed optimism about the redesigned SAT, debuting in spring 2016. “The exam will serve as a means of demonstrating prowess and academic accomplishment, rather than as a test that you need to cram for and find all the tricky manipulative ways to do well on,” said panel member Will Larsen.
- Access to resources and Information throughout the College Application Process: members highlighted programs in their schools that provide support and resources to students as they navigate the college application process. Examples included hosting a panel of alumni in their first year of college, and “Application Fridays” where students bring in their applications to work with counselors and teachers.
- Challenging coursework is for everyone: students argued that programs that put students in categories early on in high school make it harder for students to elevate themselves out of that track. “It’s really important for kids to get the sense that they can succeed in Advanced Placement (AP) no matter what their previous classes were,” said panel member Jack Seigenthaler. “It needs to be a message of opportunity rather than a message of selectivity.”
- Early engagement can support diversity in advanced coursework: panel members suggested connecting with middle school students and their families and translating materials into several languages as ways to encourage diverse students to take AP.
Overall, the students reiterated their passion for the work of the Advisory Panel on Student Opportunity and its role within the College Board as the organization works toward its mission of delivering opportunity to all students.