Many students are required to work with the College Board, the organization that administers the SAT and AP exams. However, a recent investigation by Gizmodo reveals a concerning pattern of privacy issues. When users enter their GPA and SAT scores on the College Board’s website, the organization shares this data with Facebook, TikTok, and other companies using tracking technology called pixels. Despite the College Board’s claim that they do not share personally identifiable information, Gizmodo’s tests show that they do, in fact, share GPAs and SAT scores with TikTok. This data sharing is not unique to the College Board, as many apps and websites engage in similar practices. However, privacy advocates argue that the College Board and other organizations handling student data should be held to a higher standard, especially given their mandatory role in the education system.
In 2018 and 2019, the College Board faced backlash for selling student data, including SAT test-takers’ names, for a low price. Even after making commitments to user privacy, the organization was found to be sharing data with companies like Google and Facebook. The College Board has since removed references to the Student Privacy Pledge from its website and is no longer listed as a signatory. The organization claims that it uses student data with permission to help them access and succeed in college. However, the lack of transparency and continued data sharing practices raise concerns about student privacy.
Despite being a non-profit organization, the College Board’s executives receive significant compensation, with 14 out of 17 executives making over $300,000 in 2021. This further highlights the profitability and power of the College Board, which not only administers exams but also plays a role in curriculum development. TikTok’s ad library also shows that the College Board ran ads on the platform, raising questions about whether student data collected through pixels was used for targeted advertising.
Overall, the College Board’s data sharing practices and history of privacy issues raise concerns about the protection of student privacy. While data sharing is a common practice on the internet, organizations handling sensitive student information should be held to a higher standard. The College Board’s role in the education system and its significant influence make it important for the organization to prioritize transparency and safeguard student data.