NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – High school students in Brooklyn waiting to hear how they did on the SAT instead found out they had to take the test all over again.
Students from nearly 50 schools took the exam on May 5 at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights.
Students are required to be seated at least four feet apart to prevent cheating but a surprise inspection from the College Board found the test takers were accidentally seated much closer, Bruce Dennis, head of Packer, said in a statement.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports
As a result, nearly 200 students had their scores invalidated.
“Packer accepts full responsibility for its test administration lapses, apologizes to all students tested here on May 5, and is taking all appropriate measures to ensure that needed changes are made before we test students again in June,” Dennis said.
“While we accept responsibility for not strictly adhering to all guidelines, the College Board’s decision to invalidate almost 200 student scores without any evidence of individual wrongdoing or cheating makes strikes us as exceedingly unfair.”
The Educational Testing Service released a statement saying it is “required to invalidate scores whenever the ETS Office of Testing Integrity determines that students took the SAT under non-standard conditions or when testing protocols were not followed.”
Dennis claimed the College Board failed to communicate with the school directly about its decision to invalidate the scores and instead heard of the move from students and families.
Students were outraged over the situation.
“I’m so mad. Got to sit there for four hours and you got to do it again,” Savan Le told CBS 2′s John Slattery. “We have different tests. Even if we’re sitting together, how can we possibly cheat? It doesn’t make sense.”
“I think they should have just told us at the beginning and pushed the tables farther away before administering the test,” Mariana Mercado added.
“The auditor saw everything and didn’t say anything,” junior Jake Shapiro said. “They just let us take the test and now we have to retake it.”
“Imagine preparing for a test and finishing, finally thinking it’s over and then finding out it’s cancelled and you have to start all over again,” junior Jake Miller added.
“I understand the grounds, but I just think it’s really unfair,” sophomore Maddy Yi said.
Many of the students will retake the test this Saturday at no cost. The school will provide students free breakfast and transportation to Abraham Lincoln High School on Coney Island for the exam.
Packer is also taking measures to ensure the appropriate changes are made ahead of their June 2 test date and has contacted legal counsel to ensure the students’ rights are protected.
Testing services have been on high alert since a cheating ring was exposed on Long Island last year.
The cheating scandal, which involved test-takers impersonating other students, put 20 former and current students in handcuffs and exposed some major weaknesses in the system.
Students taking the SAT and ACT now have to pass an identity test, which includes state-of-the-art photo recognition, enhanced handwriting analysis and more testing at home school sites, among other security measures.
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