SAT mistiming mishap

Proctor’s mistake causes distress

Eleanor Kaplan

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On Jan. 21 at Loyola Academy, many student’s SAT scores, including juniors Rachael Chiao and Olivia Stensberg, were deemed invalid because of improper timing.

The administrative error caused confusion and anger from students, who believed their time was wasted.

Soon after completing the four-hour test on Saturday morning, Chiao said, “Everything seemed totally fine. In fact, everyone in my room seemed to be finishing up before time was called on each section.”

Three days after the test, Chiao received an email from the SAT administration stating, “We regret to inform you that an administrative irregularity occurred in the room in which you tested.”

Included in the email were a formal apology and the details of the test makeup, which is to be at Loyola Academy on Feb. 4.

After calling SAT, Chiao discovered that the proctor of the exam had given the students less time than the test prescribed. For this reason, all of the exams were deemed invalid and scores were cancelled.

When registering to take an SAT test, all students must agree to the terms and conditions. Listed in the document are the following reasons why a score could be cancelled: improper timing, seating, unapproved accommodations, or defective equipment.

“When testing irregularities occur, ETS [Educational Testing Service] may cancel an administration or individual registrations, decline to score  the test, or cancel the test score.”

The document goes on to state that all decisions made by the SAT administration are final and that all students will be given a makeup date for the test, free of charge.

Although the policies of SAT cancellations are made clear in the terms and conditions, most students are still unaware that administrative errors can happen and can result in an invalid test.

“I knew the test score could be canceled if one of the students messed up or cheated, but I never thought the proctor could be the one to cause the trouble,” Chiao said.

This came as a surprise to testing coordinator of New Trier, Peg Stevens, as well.

“I don’t remember a mistiming ever in my tenure at New Trier,” Stevens said.

In administering the tests, SAT representative Jaslee Carayol said, “Test center staff receive training and instruction manuals to ensure that the SAT is properly administered.” However, mistakes can be made.

For the students taking the exam at Loyola, it was particularly irritating to be cooped up inside for three to four hours for the test because it occurred on an unseasonably warm Saturday that reached the highest temperatures since late October.

Chiao said, “I was really frustrated because even if  I didn’t have enough time, I still finished the test ahead of time so it didn’t affect me.”

However, on Feb. 2, about a week after receiving the original email about the score cancellation, Chiao and Stensburg were sent another email from the SAT administration offering the options of either releasing the scores of the original test or retesting at no additional charge.

The email stated that students can stick with their original score if they, “believe [their] performance was not affected.”

If students choose the first option, their scores will be released within seven weeks of the date it was taken. To students such as Chiao who finished the test with extra time, the option to submit the original scores was an easy choice. “I’m not going to retake the test”, she said

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