FBI agents raided the Maryland home of a former College Board employee Friday and seized his computers over charges that he stole proprietary test questions.
It was the latest escalation in the fight between College Board, which creates and administers the popular SAT and PSAT tests, and Manuel Alfaro, who oversaw the development of parts of the SAT when he was on the payroll there.
In May, Alfaro, "jolted the staid world of standardized testing" by going public with criticism of his former employer, reported Reuters. He criticized the company on LinkedIn and on Twitter.
Alfaro also wrote to educational agencies in seven states, warning them of problems with the SAT test. He claimed that the College Board was making false claims about its product when bidding for contracts.
State agencies had been mostly dismissive but Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., contacted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over charges that the College Board is not following federal guidelines to peer review questions for its tests.
Alfaro alleged that the company does have some peer review of questions but then changes those questions, sometimes quite dramatically, without submitting them for review again.
In addition to unprecedented criticism, the College Board has been the victim of an unprecedented leak this year, of several hundred of its questions. It appears to have convinced the FBI that Alfaro had something to do with that.
Company spokesman Zach Goldberg said of the raid, "We are pleased that this crime is being pursued aggressively."
The most recent item on Alfaro's unverified Twitter page is a riff on the "Most Interesting Man in the World" meme.
It says, "I don't always blow the whistle. But when I do it's about the SAT. Stay informed, my friends!"