Updated 05/16/2012 11:41 PM
Test Administration Error Forces Brooklyn Students To Retake SAT Exam
In a week when high school juniors are taking Advanced Placement exams, a group of Brooklyn students from dozens of schools found an administrative error is forcing them to retake the SAT exams this weekend. NY1's Education reporter Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
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Almost 200 students who took their SAT exams earlier this month in a Brooklyn private school were informed by email last night that their tests were invalidated due to a logistical problem at the testing site.
On Tuesday night, the College Board informed the high school juniors who took their tests at Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights on May 5 that their tests were never scored, due to an "administrative irregularity."
A surprise spot-check of the testing site found that the test-takers were sitting too close to one another at the school. Four feet of separation is required.
A spokesman for the SAT said the surprise audits happen frequently but hardly ever uncover any problems. In fact, this was the only site worldwide where all students' scores from May 5 scores were cancelled.
The affected students, who attend Packer and up to 50 other schools, were told they could retake the tests on Saturday.
"I've been preparing for the SAT, I still have to keep up with my regular school work. I had an AP English exam today, actually," said Allana Edwards, a student at Packer who is one of the affected juniors. Since March it has been pretty crazy, just trying to prepare for all these exams."
"It's incredibly frustrating. Everyone's been really, really upset by this. It's an emotional thing. People have been preparing for this months," said Oakley Frieberg, another Packer student who has to retake the SAT. "I had this date on my calendar, I was ready for it, I came in and I felt good about it. Now I have no extra time, it's an almost six-hour test for me that I have to redo this weekend with four days' notice."
"Everybody's just really angry. The worst part about is there's nothing you can do. There's no one you can even make a complaint to or call and people at the College Board who you can go to," said Yoni Rechtman, a student at nearby St. Ann's School who is also forced to retake the SAT. "They either tell you that there's nothing they can do about it or they pretty much don't care."
Bruce Dennis, the head of school at Packer, says there is no evidence of cheating at his school and called the board a "monolithic bureaucracy" that had not considered the consequences of its decisions. He said Packer has contacted its lawyers.
"It's enormously frustrating to see our children become the victims of this decision by the College Board over which we really have no control," Dennis said. "We were remiss in not providing the seating accommodations according to their strict protocol and we are certainly prepared and are making those changes to make sure things are done absolutely appropriate fashion in the future. But absent any indication that students had engaged in any improper testing practices or cheated, to invalidated 200 students scores just seems an excessive overreaction."
According to the College Board, the only other SAT testing site that had all its scores canceled this year had its fire alarm go off and the students got on their cellphones during the exams.
The College Board officials said the decision to cancel the scores at Packer is not related to increases in test security after a widespread cheating scandal was uncovered on Long Island last school-year.