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Learning from the June 6 SAT Blunder

Have you heard about the latest SAT blunder that is bothering parents and their college-bound students?

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What DID really happen to those students taking the SAT on June 6?

If you have a college-bound student, you have surely heard something happened and may even be wondering how it will affect your student. College Parenting Expert, Wendy David-Gaines, does a great job sharing the details, explaining what really happened, and exploring how a lesson can be learned by parents and students from the whole sticky situation.

Read Wendy’s complete article about the SAT blunder on June 6 and use what happened as a lesson in advocacy and communication for both parents and students in the college process:


The June 6 SAT mess is a learning opportunity in advocacy for parents and their college-bound students. After countless hours of test prep and costly courses to familiarize test-takers so they can achieve higher scores with less anxiety, there was a major error during the administration of this standardized test. The result was the College Board decided it would not score the two sections affected by the mistake and that this would not affect the reliability of student overall scores. The consequences for families go beyond the numbers.

The confusion started while students were taking the SAT on June 6. “Nationwide, proctors told nearly half a million students that they had 20 minutes to complete a reading section. The printed test that the students received said that they had 25 minutes. Shortly after the test finished at noon Eastern Time, the error was identified, but it was too late,” according to GoLocalWorcester.

How the interruption of concentration affected student scores was minimized by the College Board on its website because, “The SAT consists of three Tests: Reading, Writing, and Math – with each test having multiple sections. To accommodate the wide range of incidents that can impact a testing experience, the SAT is designed to collect enough information to provide valid and reliable scores even with an additional unscored section within a test. From fire drills and power outages to mistiming and disruptive behavior, school-based test administrations can be fragile, so our assessments are not.”

Parents and students still wonder how the SAT with ten sections can be scored as reliably by disqualifying two of them.

They also mull over how the confusion broke the flow and employment of test timing strategies learned during test preparation. “Some students have organized a petition demanding a free retest, and some reports on social media indicate that some students who have called the College Board have been told they can get a free retest,” according to Inside Higher Ed. Other possibilities posed include scoring the whole test in case they actually did well on the discarded sections, letting students choose to keep their scores or retest for free, and refunding the registration fee because students are not getting what they paid – a fully scored test. “[S]ome students and parents are discussing other options, including a class-action lawsuit, according to FairTest, or the National Center for Fair and Open Testing,” according to The Washington Post.

Emotions are running high about a five-minute error because many schools use SAT scores as a factor for college admission and to award scholarships. Worse, other recent test mishaps are fueling the argument against utilizing such tests. But students have to deal with current admission and financial aid procedures. Many of the college-bound go through the difficult process of test prep to position themselves for their best chance of getting in and paying for it. Parents and their children can use their passion as a lesson in advocacy.

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Colleges will be treating those on their campus as adults. They will need to be their own champion to speak up when help is necessary, describe the problem and request solutions. Good communication skills are essential as are confidence and willingness to be heard. The bonus is a fine vocabulary will help improve test scores, college essays, and when admitted, being able to handle college assignments.

Learning From the June 6 SAT Blunder

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