Student’s SAT Score Under Review

SAT Cheating, SAT Scandal, SAT Administration
What’s going on behind the closed doors of ETS? The organization is facing backlash for placing a student’s score under review. Photo credit: Coolcaesar.

A Florida high school student has accused ETS, the administrator of the College Board’s SAT exam, of racial bias with respect to its decision to hold for review her latest SAT score. The student, Kamilah Campbell, took the exam this past October but didn’t receive her score along with other students. Instead, she received a couple of letters from ETS, including one on October 31st that informed her that her October score was still under review and this review could take up to six weeks. When she checked back in after that window had passed, it seems she was informed of her score on the October administration. That score was a 1,230, and it marked an increase of over 300 points from her March results. And we imagine our readers are wondering why this seems newsworthy since score increases of 200-300 points are quite common — particularly for students who took the first exam untutored and without significant prep-work.

Student’s SAT Score Under Review

As reports Stephanie Wash, Emily Shapiro, and Sabina Ghebremedhin for “ABC News” in a piece entitled “Student claims she was accused of cheating on SAT after her exam was held for review,” “Campbell said she explained to ETS that when she took the SAT in March, she hadn’t prepared, so between March and the October exam, she worked hard to improve, using prep resources and working with tutors, according to [her attorney Ben] Crump. ETS told Campbell in a letter received Dec. 19 that a preliminary review showed ‘substantial evidence’ that her score was invalid because of ‘substantial agreement between your answers on one or more scored sections of the test and those of other test-takers,’ according to Crump and a College Board spokesperson. That was among a number of factors for which her scores are under review, the board said, without elaborating…The letter to Campbell ‘never references score gains as a reason for her scores being under review,’ a College Board spokesperson said.”

ETS Must Act Faster to Render Decision

We’re not surprised that ETS would convey the student’s score wasn’t flagged based on her score increase alone, although if the organization is going to imply — as it has — that her answers matched those of another test-taker, they should show rather than tell how the student’s answers match up with those of another test-taker and provide some sort of evidence in order to justify why this is unusual. Finally, ETS’ review of the student’s file should wrap up with expedience. If the student copied another test-taker’s answers, why does it take so many weeks to figure this out? Why should it jeopardize this student’s case for college admission?

And so today we join in this student’s call for ETS to release all relevant information to this student and/or her attorney concerning why she can’t submit her October SAT score to colleges. If ETS thinks she cheated, they need to show her why they believe that to be the case. And if they can’t provide that information, they should issue a sincere apology to this student for all they’ve put her through over these last several weeks.

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