- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The president of the College Board sent an e-mail to the group’s members yesterday apologizing for scoring problems on the SAT exam. He pledged the organization would learn from the experience.

“This situation has tested us. It has tested me,” Gaston Caperton wrote in an e-mail to members of the nonprofit College Board, which owns the SAT. “We could not be more sorry that this happened or more determined to learn from our experience and to press on more vigorously than ever with our educational mission.”

The board’s membership includes high schools, colleges and nonprofit groups.

Trouble with the October SAT sitting was first revealed in early March, followed by two announcements in subsequent weeks about problems with rescoring the exam. The disclosures came at the height of the admissions season, forcing many colleges to reopen files just as they were trying to make final decisions.

Eventually, the College Board reported 4,411 of the 495,000 October test-takers received incorrectly low scores, 83 percent of them off by 40 points or less across the 2,400-point exam. In the worst case, an exam was off by 450 points.

Mr. Caperton’s note contained no significant new information about the problems, but did address criticism the College Board has faced for not re-reporting the scores of 613 students who received incorrectly high scores on the exam. Some admissions officers said those students may be unfairly taking admissions or scholarship slots from more deserving candidates.

Mr. Caperton said it would be unfair to lower the scores of students now that it is too late for them to take the test again. However, Mr. Caperton said the policy of not penalizing students for technical errors that work in their favor would be revisited by the SAT committee in May, at the request of some members.

“I personally have learned a great deal during this period,” wrote Mr. Caperton, a former governor of West Virginia. “Often, pain accompanies learning so I cannot say I have enjoyed this experience, and neither has anyone else at the College Board.”

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