Scoring for Saturday's SAT will proceed despite a printing error in the test booklet that led to some students getting more time than others to complete two sections of the exam. The College Board announced Monday night that after a review of the situation, it and the Educational Testing Service had decided to not score the sections in question. The news satisfied some students who worried their exams would be invalidated but upset others who argued the results wouldn't be fair this way.
"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," the College Board wrote in a statement. "From fire drills and power outages to mistiming and disruptive behavior, school-based test administrations can be fragile, so our assessments are not."
On Saturday, test takers discovered that their booklets gave them 25 minutes for section 8 or 9, both of which are usually 20 minutes long. Proctors' instruction manuals had the correct amount of allotted time, but they each handled the situation differently. In some parts of the United States, proctors cut off students after 20 minutes. In others, they let them have the extra five.
The inconsistent response to the mistake worried parents and students who thought their results might be invalidated as a result. But Inside Higher Ed reported that Monday night's decision to let the scores stand wasn't well-received, either.
Bob Schaeffer, the public education director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, wrote in a statement that the College Board's choice was "the course of least resistance" but good for students who didn't want to retake the exam. Still, he questioned the decision -- and the test itself. "If reliable and valid scores can be generated from June 6 exams despite a missing section, why do students at other SAT administrations have to spend the additional time answering questions that the test-makers now say are unnecessary?" Schaeffer asked.
Others took to social media to disagree with the decision and question the validity of their results.
"They are making it sound like they are SO proactive with their test design that entire sections aren't needed. Please.... They don't want to offer another test (too expensive) and they want this to go away as quickly as possible (too embarrassing)," user Squirg wrote on a CollegeConfidential.com forum. Another user, izasaix, added that colleges might be skeptical of the "inaccurate" scores out of Saturday's SAT, while user annenguyen19 lamented that she'd done well in the section the College Board was going to skip scoring.
The conversation continued Tuesday morning on Twitter. Read a few students' messages below:
Maybe the @CollegeBoard should have used 5 extra minutes to go over the test before sending it out to determine millions of kids futures.
— anna ☀️ (@its_annac) June 9, 2015
@CollegeBoard Students who took the SAT last Saturday should get a free retake. Completely unfair otherwise.
— Carlie (@CarlieP) June 9, 2015
@ryanalbright22 How can they get the right test scores if they're missing a section _ Way to go College Board
— April Buckles (@AprilmBuckles) June 9, 2015
But what if I didn't answer many questions on the other sections & answered more on the section that won't be scored. D: @CollegeBoard
— Nataly Carbonell (@um_lil_cutie) June 9, 2015
Scores were scheduled to be released June 25.