The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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SAT scoring errors worry prospective CSUN students

Only a few prospective CSUN students had SAT scores that were incorrectly scored by the college board, said a CSUN official.

Eric Forbes, director of Admissions and Records at CSUN, said about six applicants were affected by the scoring errors, but the score discrepancy was not drastic enough to affect their admission to the university.

Several problems resulted from the original scores received by the university, but the tests were corrected and are no longer an issue, he said

About 4,000 high school students nationwide were affected by errors in scoring SAT tests. Many students who took the SAT college entrance exam last October, received higher scores after having their tests rescored in March. The College Board re-scanned 27,000 tests after technical problems involving the scoring of the tests were brought to light.

A CSUN Admissions and Records analyst said the errors that happened with the SAT scores did not affect the admittance of any high school students who applied for Fall 2006. The analyst did not want to reveal her name.

“I thought something could have been off when I got my scores and they were lower than I had expected,” said Tashin Kahem, a senior high student from the Los Angeles area.

“But, I had no idea by how much at first,” he said.

After Kahem heard about the errors, she waited for her new scores. She said when she received them, she was shocked to see that her scores “were off by 150 points.”

“I have no idea what this cost me, but it could very well mean the difference between Ivy, private, and public schools. Because after I received my scores I thought they were too low for me to apply to some Ivy schools,” he said. “Now I don’t know if I could have gotten in.”

Christina Fuentes, a senior at Los Angeles high school who has applied to CSUN, said she did not receive notification that her original scores could be wrong, but she decided to retake the exam in April as a precaution.

“I don’t want to take any chances,” she said. “I have no certainty that my scores are what they should be. My SAT scores do affect my admission to the university, and I rather retake the exam and see if it will make a difference in the admission requirements I need to meet.”

According to the College Board website, they were first alerted that there was a problem with the October 2005 SAT scoring process in December, when two requests to hand rescore the tests resulted in changes that increased the students’ scores.

Although requests to hand re-scored tests are routine, the College Board and Pearson Educational Measurement, the company that scans and scores the tests, launched an investigation that led to the conclusion that a combination of humid weather conditions along with light or incomplete answers resulted in scoring errors, said Brian O’Reilly, executive director of SAT information and services at the College Board.

By early March, Pearson Educational Measurement confirmed that some SAT tests had been scanned improperly and that they would begin scoring them immediately.

David Hakensen, a Pearson Educational Measurement spokesperson, said the humidity levels were a factor that caused the test papers to swelled up slightly, causing the machine to not read the answers correctly.

Less than 1 percent of students who took the SAT in October were effected by the scoring error, said Jennifer Topiel, executive director of communications and public affairs at the College Board.

Topiel said the discrepancy in the scores were mostly within 100 points of their corrected score on the 2,400-point test.

Topiel also said that the students, most of which were concentrated in the Northeast, were notified by e-mail and regular mail of the scoring errors.

Letters were also mailed out by the end of March to the deans of admissions at colleges and universities where students whose scores were affected asked to have their scores submitted.

The College Board provided college admissions offices with a list of students who were effected by their revised scores, Topiel said. The College Board also confirmed that some students originally received higher scores than they actually earned, but no changes would be made to reduce their scores.

“It was not their fault that some tests were scored incorrectly, so we don’t want to penalize them for something that was out of their hands,” O’Reilly said.

Meanwhile, the College Board will be refunding registration fees to students effected by the scoring errors, Topiel said.

Chiara Coletti, vice president of public affairs at the College Board, said the College Board was sorry for the stress and anxiety that the situation had created for students, their families, and school officials, and that they are working to ensure the scoring errors do not happen again.

“This is completely irresponsible of the College Board,” she said.

“They should have always taken measures to review that their scoring procedures are correct and up to standard. The fact that it took two students to request their tests to be manually scored for the College Board to realize that a mistake had been made is a disgrace,” she said.

“What if those students hadn’t asked for it? Would they have figured it out on their own,” said Cynthia Clayton, whose son decided to retake the exam in April as a precaution.

Sandy Archila can be reached at

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