While students across the United States took part in the SAT exams last Saturday, some ended up receiving more time than others to complete certain test sections due to an error in the test's written instructions.
Test booklets received by students who took the exam gave students 25 minutes to complete section 8 or 9, depending on the edition of the exam. However, the proctor script offered students 20 minutes to complete the same section. While proctors did call the College Board during the exam in order to determine how much time to offer students, an answer was not received in time. In the end, some students were allowed 25 minutes while others only had 20.
After the error was discovered by students and parents, many took to social media to voice their complaints. One such parent wrote on the College Confidential Website:
"In my daughter's test, they told her they conferred with the College Board and that they had 25 minutes. Then 19 minutes into the section (she still thought she had six minutes) someone came into the room and told them they had to finish it within 20 minutes. So they only had one more minute. She still had 3 questions left, as she thought she had six minutes."
Some complained that those given extra time had an unfair advantage, while others expressed concerns that the College Board would simply cancel all scores, which would force students to retake the exam, reports Valerie Strauss for The Washington Post.
The College Board released a statement that acknowledged a printing error and confirmed the mistake on Monday, adding that the pertinent questions would not count toward students' final results, writes Rachel Bertsche for Yahoo!. "We will still be able to provide reliable scores for all students who took the SAT on June 6," the College Board said in its statement. Officials added that the test is created in a way to allow for interruptions including fire drills, power outages, disruptive students and other such problems.
"We have deliberately constructed both the Reading and the Math Tests to include three equal sections with roughly the same level of difficulty. If one of the three sections is jeopardized, the correlation among sections is sufficient to be able to deliver reliable scores," the College Board's statement said.
College Board added that the information provided in student test booklets was incorrect, and that the correct amount of time was listed in the script given to proctors. None of the exams administered outside of the United States contained this mistake, despite previous suggestions that the same error occurred in Asia.
Students will not be required to retake the exam unless they choose to do so.