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College Board Contractor Blames Machine Errors for SAT Grading Errors

College Board Admits SAT Exam Errors

BOSTON, MA -- April 7, 2006 -- The College Board recently admitted that 27,000 of 495,000 SAT college entrance exams have been graded incorrectly. Some scores were understated by as much as 450 points out of a possible 2,400 points. These errors could prevent a student from getting into the college of his or her choice, or even having the chance to attend a college at all.

The SAT exam is administered by the College Board and scored by its contractor, Pearson Educational Measurement. Pearson blamed the scoring mistakes on moisture from the test papers and machine errors.

About 4,411 students will have their SAT grades increased because of the scoring errors. The College Board is in the process of informing students as well as universities about the revised scores. So far, it has made no attempt to lower the scores of students whose SAT results may have been incorrectly inflated. Some of these students may be able to attend certain colleges, displacing other applicants.

College admissions officials are not happy, particularly since the College Board made announcements about SAT errors over several weeks, initially greatly underestimating the number of applicants affected. "It's a disgrace that upon discovery of the first series of scoring errors the College Board was not able to get to the bottom of the problem," said Gary Ross, dean of admissions for Colgate University (Washington Post, March 24, 2006). "They owe all of us a detailed explanation of what went wrong and how they are going to avoid these kinds of mishaps in the future."

Bruce Poch, dean of admissions at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, was even more critical of the College Board and Pearson Educational Measurement. "Everybody appears to be telling half-truths, and that erodes confidence in the College Board," he commented (NY Times, March 23, 2006). "It looks like they hired the people who used to do the books for Enron. My next question is what other surprise we're going to hear about next."

Have You Been Kept Out of College Because of SAT Scoring Errors?

Brayton Purcell is currently evaluating cases of California high school students who may not have been accepted at a college because of grading errors on their SAT tests. If you or your child falls into this category, and has received a letter from the College Board about scoring errors, please contact us for more information.

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