When you’re a high school teacher and an SAT tutor like I am, the rhythm of your year is strongly impacted by the seven administrations of the nation’s most popular college admissions test. And when you’re working tirelessly with students who need a certain score to go to that dream college, fighting for every added point, you tend to pay close attention to details surrounding the SAT’s administrations.
Last Saturday, the June 6 administration of the SAT was given across the nation. While these things, through the impressive professional consistency of The College Board, have a reputation for being run like absolute clockwork—this time something was off. A misprint on the labeling of a particular section of the 10 section, 3 hour and 45 minute exam, indicated an incorrect timing, which resulted in students across the country receiving an inconsistent amount of time for a particular section.
Freakouts ensued, as students and parents alike feared scores would be invalidated and retakes forthcoming. Caitlin McLoughlin, one of my students and an incoming senior (and soccer star) at Incarnate Word High School, took Saturday’s test at Winston Churchill High School.
Immediately conscious that something was wrong, she said she “was very upset and worried about [her] score.” Mostly, she explained, she “feared retaking the test sometime this year, because this would cause me, and many others, to be late sending in college applications with earlier due dates.” This, no doubt, was cause for anxiety for many families.
Fortunately, earlier this week, The College Board announced that the SAT test results from Saturday would be valid and the section in question would ultimately be a non-factor. The test, wisely, is constructed in such a way that it allows for breathing room to accommodate unforeseen issues like this. Though any given SAT test has 10 sections, only 9 are scored.
For her part, McLoughlin no doubt speaks for many across the country as she expressed her relief. “Knowing that the scores will be fine certainly brings some peace of mind,” she explained.
Here’s The College Board’s full statement on the issue:
“On Saturday, June 6, Educational Testing Service (ETS) informed the College Board that there was a printing error in the standard test books ETS provided to students taking the SAT that day in the United States.
We apologize for this error.
After a comprehensive review and statistical analysis, the College Board and ETS have determined that the affected sections will not be scored and we will still be able to provide reliable scores for all students who took the SAT on June 6. We expect to deliver scores within the usual timeframe.
To accommodate the wide range of incidents that can impact a testing experience, the SAT is designed to collect enough information to provide valid and reliable scores even with an additional unscored section. From fire drills and power outages to mistiming and disruptive behavior, school-based test administrations can be fragile, so our assessments are not.
We take our responsibility to students very seriously, and we regret the confusion some students experienced. For more information, we encourage students and their families to visit www.collegeboard.org/june-6-sat.”