College Board Sued For Administration of Misprinted Exams

Sumner Park Contributor
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A high school student from Long Island, N.Y. is suing the College Board and the Educational Testing Service in the Brooklyn Federal Court for a test-timing error in one of the sections of the June 6 SAT.

Julia Ellinghaus’ lawyers are seeking to declare class-action status for the half a million students that took the exam, according to Inside Higher Ed.

The students’ answer forms unfairly allotted extra time in section eight or nine of the 4-hour exam in result of a printing error, and some proctors did not catch the mistake. While students still received a valid score, the College Board disclosed that it would throw out not one, but two of the sections on the college admission exam. (RELATED: College Board Makes Printing Error On SAT Exam)

Both the suit and test takers argue that the SAT should allow a free retest and accept scores without those two sections, according to according to Fair Test, or the National Center for Fair and Open Testing. FairTest also argues that the College Board should reimburse the applicants’ registration fees for the portion of the test not being scored.

Although some students were told they could retake the SAT for free in October, there is no indication of a free retake on the College Board Website, The Washington Post reported.

Instead, the non-profit, overseas company affirmed that the test could still determine a students’ readiness for college.

“We apologize for this error,” The College Board posted to its website June 8. “We will still be able to provide reliable scores for all students who took the SAT on June 6.”

Ellinghaus and the suit disagree, challenging the College Board’s claim that the test is designed to collect enough information to provide valid and reliable scores amid the wide range of incidents that can impact the test — including the negligence of a section.

Angry parents, students and college advisers agree with Ellinghaus’s suit and note the company’s inconsistent explanations, which have been discarded, replaced or reworded to provide guidance to supervisors. The page initially claimed only one section would not be scored.

The original statement also claimed there were printing errors in either the math or science sections of the exam, which was later revised to say there was only an error in one section, but two sections were affected as a result.

“It appears that the College Board is ‘making it up on the fly’ to stay one step ahead of criticism and potential litigation,” said FairTest Public Education Director Bob Schaeffer. “The decision not to score two entire test sections is unprecedented in the history of the SAT. It is not justified by anything we have seen in the published literature about the exam.”