Jun 18, 2015

The College Board goes into damage control mode

Struggling under increasingly urgent calls for clarity on their statement concerning the June 6 SAT, the College Board issued this afternoon yet another amendment to the policy regarding students who wish to take advantage of the offer for a free re-test in October.  As calls to the press office went unanswered, the College Board appeared to be going into damage control mode, while continuing to put together a piecemeal response to timing and scoring problems arising from the administration of the June test.

As of today, the College Board has set September 3, 2015 as the deadline by which students who took the June 6 SAT Reasoning Test must request a fee waiver for the October 3 SAT.  Students cannot do this online.  If you want the free test, you must call the College Board’s customer service number (866-756-7346) and persevere until   
a representative can handle your request.

If you already signed up for SAT Subject Tests in October, you may request a later test date for your fee waiver.  These requests will be handled on a “case-by-case” basis.  Again, you must do this over the phone.

And there’s yet another offer from the College Board.  The deadline by which students may request the four free reports associated with the June 6 test has been extended.  To make up for whatever deficiencies may exist in the administration and scoring of the test, the Board will give students until June 30—after scores have been sent—to have reports sent to four colleges of their choice without charge.  And again, you may want to handle this over the phone.

But if you want to walk away from the entire mess, you may be out of luck.  So far, the College Board claims that no refunds for June 6 have been made or will be made.

In response to other questions concerning reporting of June 6 test results, the College Board continues to remain firm about the validity of their test and refuses to acknowledge that students should have the right to cancel scores from June 6, if their test “experience” was adversely affected by College Board or Educational Testing Service errors.

The scores, according to customer service, will be posted regardless of whether the student opts for a retake.  It is their view that test-takers may invoke the Score Choice option.  The question of whether or not a particular college participates in Score Choice is not their problem.

One Ivy League university not participating in Score Choice advises that they will still want the complete testing record—any and all scores not cancelled by the College Board.  If the student experienced problems with test administration, the university advises that the issue may be addressed in the “additional information” section of their application.

In the meantime, a student in New York is suing for breach of contract, and other similar actions may be perking in other states.  FairTest has taken the position that students should be offered a free retake before the October test date (preferably during the summer months) or the option to cancel the June 6 scores with full reimbursement of all test fees, if that is what the student desires.

But above and beyond anything else, most of the rest of us just want the College Board to figure the problem out, answer questions forthrightly, and do what’s in the best interests of students using their product for the purpose of applying to college, even if it costs the Board significant money.

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