SAT error upsets students, adds stress

College Board, the company that administers SAT and AP exams, was informed in mid-March that SAT results for 27,000 of the 495,000 students who took the exam in October would be fully re-evaluated. After the tests were rescanned a second time, it became apparent that an additional 375 students incorrectly received lower test scores. These 375 students are among the 4,411 total students who have been acknowledged for incorrectly lowered October SAT test scores. An additional 600 or so students received higher test scores than they earned, but these test results are not being changed. Students were notified of the error starting March 23. High schools and colleges were also notified and provided with lists of students who were affected. College Board has stated the majority of the students had less than a 100-point difference between the two tests. They have promised, however, to refund the students’ test registration fees as well as any other related fees. “We couldn’t be more sorry for the total stress this has caused students and admissions officers and families,” Chiara Colettie, a College Board spokesperson, said. College Board assured students and parents that, according to their research, the “scoring anomaly was a one-time problem and only involved the October 2005 SAT Reasoning Test.” Pearson Educational Measurement, the company responsible for scoring the SATs, was asked to make sure all 495,000 tests from October were rescored. The company’s chief executive, Douglas Kubach, stated the company will be taking “every necessary step to restore confidence in the process.” However, all of this may be a little too late for college-bound seniors, many of whom had already received admissions letters by the time they were notified of the error. “It’s very sad because a lot of the decisions for seniors have already been made,” Linda Telleen-Martens, director of the Ames High Extended Learning Program, said. “It’s important to remember that the SAT scores are just a part of the application, but especially in highly selective colleges, I think the change in scores could have been critical.” Telleen-Martens went on to say that in this day and age, an unfair amount of importance is being given to the SATs and other forms of standardized testing, such as the ACTs, in regards to college admissions. “Standardized testing has become very, very, important,” she said. “It’s nice to think that having a good GPA can make up for test scores, and really having high test scores and a high GPA is a very nice combination, but the unfortunate truth is, GPAs don’t make up for not so great test scores to college admissions officers.” She went on to say, though, that more recently this has been changing. “We’ve been seeing a change in the way highly selective colleges look at applications,” she said. “They’ve started looking more at the whole person, with things like the interview and the essay.” Junior Jennifer Compton said she thinks standardized testing has become too important among students. “A lot of people tend to get really stressed out about it,” she said. “It seems like normally, standardized testing is at least a ball park figure of a student’s ability, but sometimes its not, and if that’s the case, students should be able to play to their other strengths.” Compton went on to say that her personal standardized testing anxiety stemmed from something other than the anticipation of college admission. “For me, it’s not really about college admissions,” she said. “I know someone has to get into those schools, so I feel like I have as good of a chance as anyone. What makes me nervous is that standardized testing is really just another way for me to see where I stand among everyone else in the nation.” She went on to say her desire to do well on standardized testing is not that different from wanting to do well in school or in the activities in which she is involved. “Standardized testing is just another measure of what I can handle and what I’m capable of,” Compton said. “That makes it important to me to prove to myself that I can do well.”