An additional five minutes spent studying for a test may not seem like that big a deal; an additional five minutes spent on one of the most important, timed college entrance exams for U.S. colleges, on the other hand, has led to the nullification of part of almost half a million SAT tests.
On Saturday, June 6th, 2015 students all around the world sat for the official SAT. The official SAT booklets all contained a significant misprint–in the students’ test booklets, Section 8 or Section 9 (depending on the version of the test), incorrectly allotted 25 minutes for students to complete those sections. The correct time allotment of 20 minutes, however, was written on the proctor’s script and manual, which created confusion for the test takers as well as the proctors.
One student from George Washington High School recalls that some of the test takers in her room worked on Section 9 during the 25-minute period for Section 8, due to different versions of the test, because they “all wanted equal time” and that the proctor “went with it” since he wasn’t sure about the situation either.
Students and families were also confused about whether or not their scores would be affected by the mistake. William Ju, a student at TestMagic, says, “My family [was annoyed]. They kept asking if the deletion [would affect] me negatively or positively.”
One student from Long Island, New York went as far as to sue the College Board and the Educational Testing Service for the mistimed sections of the SAT. She is charging them for alleging breach of contract and negligence and claims that there was monetary damage to those who took the misprinted exam. The nonprofit organization has yet to provide a response about this case.
College Board’s official statement regarding the printing error originally said that the mistimed sections, Section 8 or Section 9, would not be scored; however, as of June 18th, the company decided that neither sections will be scored–regardless of which version of the test the student took. Defending the quality of the SAT, College Board stated, “We have deliberately constructed each test to include three equal sections with roughly the same level of difficulty. If one of the three sections is jeopardized, the correlation among sections is sufficient to be able to deliver reliable scores.”
The final scores are still valid and can be sent to college for consideration, but after receiving many calls from upset students and parents about retaking the test for free or receiving a refund, College Board is agreeing to waive the fee of the October test for those who were “negatively affected by the printing error” and who register by September 3, 2015.
College Board’s official response: https://lp.collegeboard.org/information-regarding-the-saturday-june-6-sat-administration