So, what’s up with the cartoon cow stickers with the phrase “Gee Whiz” sent to high school counselors for students who took the PSAT this fall?
Turns out they are from the College Board in an attempt at humor linked to the recent test—a move that left some counselors flummoxed and others amused.
The joke goes back to a critical-thinking question and reading passage on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholars Qualifying Exam in October. One question noted that some kids had never seen a cow and a reading passage used the phase “Gee Whiz”, both of which triggered a string of sarcastic student responses on Twitter. One student tweeted a photo of cows posted for “poor students who’ve never seen a cow.”
Officials at the College Board, the organization that administers the exam to more than 3 million students each year, said they were trying to have some fun with the reaction to this year’s exam, according to coverage in The Washington Post and Chronicle of Higher Education.
The stickers, as seen in this embedded Instagram post, were mailed by the College Board to counselors along with a letter asking them to distribute the stickers to students who took the exam. The back of each sticker says: “Who would have thought cows could be so inspiring? We hope that the PSAT is always this fun.”
Some counselors quoted in the coverage said they thought the effort was a waste of money, while others found some levity in the move.
In a statement emailed to Education Week, the College Board said the goal of the sticker mailing was to recognize the student experience and remind them of resources availble through College Board as they received their PSAT/NMSQT score report this week.
“Many test-takers found humor in the critical reading passages and took to social media to share stories, musicals, songs, poems, and photos referencing their PSAT/NMSQT experience,” the statement said. “As a result of receiving their scores and the stickers, students have again taken to social media to remember their experience, share their stickers and plan for their future.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.