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College Board Botches the Scoring of the June 2018 SAT; Affected Test Takers Petition for Rescore

August 4, 2018

I have no faith in the College Board under David Coleman. Over the years, I have written about repeated score reporting delays, hastily recycled testsineptness at accommodating injured students, the leaking of SAT items to the press, Coleman’s reluctance to address SAT problems, including SAT bias against females, and Coleman’s using the Parkland, FL, school shooting as an opportunity to promote College Board.

Thus, this most recent SAT chaos comes as no surprise:

Something fishy has occurred with the scoring of the June 2018 SAT. For example, test takers are getting more answers correct than they did on previous tests, only to find that their scores compared to previous administrations either flatlined or drastically dropped, and the explanation, “easier questions” does not account for the severity of the problem.

June 2018 SAT test takers are tweeting their displeasure. Still, on July 12, 2018, College Board tweets that nothing is wrong and that it “plans for consistency across administrations”:

However, those College Board tweets attesting to its own competence are failing to pacify June 2018 SAT test takers.

As a result, thousands of affected individuals are petitioning College Board to Rescore the Test. As of this writing, the petition has 28,809 signatures. I learned of the petition from an individual on Twitter, @FixTheTest. According to this individual, 100,000 signatures are needed in order to prompt College Board to rescore the June 2018 SAT. But it seems there is some behind-the-scenes pushback from College Board:

The Rescore the Test home page has links that enable affected individuals to tell their stories and enable the public to read those stories, a few of which I have posted below. (There are many more.)

Alyssa, FL:

After taking the May 2018 SAT and being disappointed with my score of 1360, I paid the late fee for the June test and received a 1270. My score dropped NINETY points despite getting 2 more questions correct overall, which in my mind, would warrant the same score or slightly higher. I am disgusted by the College Board’s inaction and will not stop until every test receives a fair rescore.

Eli, FL:

I took the SAT in December and I got an 1150 and I took the June 2nd SAT and received the same score even though I got a total of 17 more questions correct. I studied 3-4 months for this exam to be curved negatively, I am furious.

Salma, NY:

I paid around $2,000 prepping for this exam. I had taken it in April and gotten a score I was not happy with. I studied for an entire month using khan academy and my own books to prep for the June SAT and in the end I saw that my score stayed the same. In addition, I got 10 more questions right than last time.

Connor, CA:

In March of 2018 I took the SAT with no preparation and zero confidence. I ended up doing very poorly missing a total of 56 questions. I missed 17 in math, 17 in writing and language, and 22 in reading. I ended up getting an 1170 which wasn’t a terribly low score considering how many questions I got wrong. I decided to study so I could improve my score. I spent many hours studying so that I could raise my score and get into a good school. I went into the June SAT with much more confidence and preparation. After the test I felt I did so much better than the first time. Over a month passes and I receive my scores. I am happy that I improved, but then I look at how many questions I missed. I ended up getting 7 questions wrong in math, 8 questions wrong in writing and language, and 8 questions wrong in reading. That’s a total of 23 wrong. I got 33 more questions correct and only improved by 120 points! I could’ve easily had a 1370 or higher which would have tremendously increased my chances at getting into a better school. To add to that, College Board decides to release the scores MUCH later than usual which makes it harder for students to retake the August SAT. There are so many reasons College Board is in the wrong and I hope something is done about it. Thank you.

Mary, PA:

One daughter got -5 on math in October and got 760. Her twin got -6 on math in June and got 670! 90 point difference for 1 less math question! First twin missed 21 in October and got 1440. Second twin missed 17 in June and got 1350! 90 points less despite twin 2 missing less! Identical IQ scores. Nearly identical standardized scores their entire lives. Nearly identical psat scores. Both got 4 on AP calc exam. Second twin has higher gpa and was doing 50-60 points better than first twin on practice exams. And studied an extra 8 months! Yet 90 points lower on June test! 1440 v 1350 when both applying to colleges????

Jacky, NY:

I woke up like everyone else to a notification saying that SAT scores are available. When i took the test, i felt that the test was practically the same level as the one i took march and october. I had studied for weeks for this test, staying up late just to do some practice test problems. Anyways, i log in and see that i have a 1440. At first i thought that i might have screwed up on one of the sessions, but i logged on and saw that i only got one math wrong and 11 questions wrong for the reading and writing section combined. That was around 8-9 questions more than i had last time, but i saw little improvement. I began to look at sat scoring websites like collegepanda and it told me that i should have scored around a 1500. All that hard work and feel that me and my peers have been robbed of the points that we earned and the only response that we get from the college board is that “they believe it is fair”. Us students want change and their word isn’t enough. We want action.

Student, GA:

I just wanted to improve the math section of my SAT in hopes that I could take another test in August and focus on the reading and writing section later having it superscored. I just want something over a 1400 to get a scholarship at this university I want to go to. I have worked with a private tutor and I have greatly approved my math abilities (I have consistently been scoring in the 700s when taking the practice tests college board has released). In 10th grade, I got a 680 on the math section with 13 wrong but in the June Sat I only got 1 wrong in the no calculator section and 7 in the calculator section but my score for the section came out to be a 660, 20 points less than my previous score. See now I am a rising senior and I know for a fact that I haven’t gotten any dumber in the past year if anything my score should go up. Look at the scoring for the curves for the previous tests I should get about a 700-750 and my overall score should be in the mid-1300s. Further, I really don’t want to keep worrying about studying for the math part of the SAT, I already spend a ton of time on it so even if they gave me a refund I’ll still be very cross, and with school starting in a few months I won’t have much time to spend on the SAT especially with the sport and clubs I’m involved in as well as the APs I’m taking. So #rescorejunesat

Aris, NY:

I took the March SAT and got a 1420. That was okay for then and I decided to work through my AP tests in May and take the June SAT. I came out of that test on June 2nd completely confident I at least scored higher, and I felt I did very well with the least wrong, finishing with good timing, and I felt I was prepared my best after finishing my math course and my AP English Courses. June was the best time for me to take it. My feelings after the test proved true after I received my score report. I saw details on each of my SAT sections. I went from 9 wrong (710) on math to 6 wrong (670) on math. I also finally achieved a perfect score on the writing and language section (from getting 3 wrong on last test) also my reading stayed same. Yet my scores went down. What I thought would be a 1470-1490 went down to a 1390. That’s a difference that won’t fly in college admissions. I feel helpless and powerless. I dread the moment where I would get denied to my dream school, where my predicted score would have put me in a great spot for admission. But unfortunately CollegeBoard is failing at putting kids on path to college and advocating for retakes in August.

Justin’s comment offers more information regarding a College Board flub in publishing questions with errors on its June 2018 SAT and then trying to “fix” the issue in the scoring phase:

Justin, WA:

2018 March: 1250, 620 R&W, 630 Math -16 Reading, -9 Writing, -14 Math

2018 June: 1290, 630 R&W, 660 Math -12 Reading, -6 Writing, -7 Math

Comparing to other curves:

Low: 700 Math, 650 R&W

High: 750 Math, 680 R&W

The claim that the 2018-06 test was easier is invalid. Section 4 had 2 easy questions and 14 hard questions. Additionally, four questions from Sections 1 and 2 were eliminated. Why do these four questions go against our score as opposed to be free boosts? We’re not the ones who made the error questions. It was you who made those silly error questions.

College Board flub-and-fix. Aha.

It seems that College Board chose not to score some questions that it determined as erroneous; however, choosing to not give students credit for questions that College Board botched does not account for so many students getting many more questions correct and seeing their scores markedly fall. It also seems that in including questions with errors on the June test and then trying to fix the problem in a fly-by-the-seat-of-pants fashion by ghosting out those questions in scoring, College Board wrecked its test-form equivalency, erring on the side of penalizing students on a high-stakes test that requires timely reporting of scores.

Justin continues with some impressive research into the issue about which College Board owes him and other June 2018 test takers some answers:

Justin, WA:

This is a follow up to my story. I would like to take a look at some of the arguments the other side has made and analyze them to assess if they’re valid or not.

Argument 1: The test was easier.

T1: No it was not. It was actually quite similar, if not possibly a bit harder. Please look at this breakdown (and here and here) of Section 4 as an instance. There were only 2 easy questions and 14 hard questions. Rest were medium.

Argument 2: This was due to equating.

T2: Please observe the score table in this article. Sure, if the test was considerably easier, then this curve would have made sense. But, since the claim that the test was considerably easier is a falsehood, this suggests that the College Board did not comply with its rules of equating. Because, in Section 4 for instance, 36/38 were medium to hard, the curve should have stayed similar or maybe slightly more lenient.

Argument 3: The CB was still ethical in its testing process.

T3: Why are there complaints that the 4 removed questions counted down against the students when the students had no role in the test questions design? Can you elaborate on your argument now that I pointed that out? If the CB was ethical, wouldn’t these 4 removed questions work as boosters? After all, it’s their fault for those defective questions. So, a concrete acknowledgement is the fair response. And please look at these. You can save the audio clip to your Google Drive and play it on the app (and here and here).

You are free to examine the contradictions that undermine the CB’s argument. In my eyes, a refund and cancellation is not an ideal goal. The College Board can likely afford these hits in the future. So, this would be a slap on the wrist. The right solution is a fair rescore. And while that, the College Board must post a public letter acknowledging their mistake so this never happens again.

If you have been negatively affected by the June 2018 administration of the SAT, or if you plan to take the SAT in the future, consider signing the petition to rescore and forwarding to friends and classmates.

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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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5 Comments
  1. Nick permalink

    Good article! CB is responsible for June SAT, must rescore. All available data suggest that the test was not easier, the 4 unscorable questions should not be used against the test takers, and the curve was unjustifiably and unprecedentedly too harsh.

  2. Thanks for posting. Shared with some people I know who run tutoring services.

    Best to you,

    Sally Ember, Ed.D.

  3. Well, when one believes in and participates in onto-epistemological error-filled falsehoods such as the SAT, what can one expect?

    To understand those errors and falsehoods that render any usage of the results of the test “vain and illusory”, completely invalid please read and understand Noel Wilson’s never refuted nor rebutted treatise on the standards and testing regime malpractices “Educational Standards and the Problem of Error” found at: http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/577/700

  4. LisaM permalink

    And the rabid, over achieving parents keep this nightmare afloat with the aid of the wonderful Guidance Staff in the high schools.

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