Nearly 200 students who took the SAT at a Brooklyn private school this month had their scores invalidated by the company that administers the test, apparently because some students were seated too closely together, school officials said Wednesday.
The decision enraged administrators, students and parents at the school, Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights, who said they were being punished for a technicality. Students who needed the results for their college applications will have to take a new test, at no cost.
The NY Times has an article about how some students have to retake their SAT scores by a technicality….sitting too close
“We are disciplining the people responsible for the administration of the test and making sure these adjustments are made,” said Bruce Dennis, the head of Packer. “But all of that could have been done without invalidating the test. To do this to 200 kids is unconscionable.”
The Educational Testing Service, which administers the SAT on behalf of the College Board, confirmed that 199 scores from the exam were canceled after an audit of the testing site, but declined to say why. Mr. Dennis said the school’s E.T.S. liaison was told by the company that some of the students had been too close together; they were supposed to be at least four feet apart.
The liaison said there were other administrative issues, Mr. Dennis said.
Though the school said no misbehavior had been found, testing services have been on increased alert since a large cheating ring was uncovered on Long Island last year, involving test-takers’ impersonating other students.
Tom Ewing, a spokesman for E.T.S., said that the company routinely conducted unannounced audits and that their frequency had not increased significantly. Mr. Ewing acknowledged that it was unusual for every score from a site to be thrown out. “Typically we will get cancellations for a room,” he said. “But issues that affect an entire test are more rare.”
Students from nearly 50 schools took the SAT at Packer on May 5; 63 students came from Packer, the most of any school. The earliest they can retake the test is Saturday; another test is scheduled for June, though many students were planning to take SAT subject tests then.
One student, Maddie Fraser, a junior, was in tears after finding out her score had been canceled. Since the SAT, she has taken two Advanced Placement tests, visited a college and has begun preparing for two SAT subject tests and her finals. “She was looking for some breathing room this weekend,” her mother, Mary Butler, said.
Now Maddie has three days’ notice to prepare for the test again, which she fears will affect her score. “I would never expect to have a four-hour exam I had been preparing for all year not count,” she said. “It’s very disrespectful of the work I’ve done.”
Packer will provide breakfast and transportation on Saturday to Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island, one of two places in New York City the makeup test is being given.
Sandra Clifton, a learning consultant who proctored the exam at Packer, said the auditor mentioned nothing about the desks during her visit.
Ms. Clifton asked why the auditor did not allow the school to fix the problem before administering the test. “That’s a travesty to those students,” she said.
Packer’s juniors have been complaining on Facebook, and seniors have been consoling them. Many juniors had been invited to a senior party on Friday night — there was talk of rescheduling.
Ms. Butler told her daughter she would be a part of SAT history, a character in high school lore. “She did not appreciate that,” she said.