SAT Catastrophe: Is the College Board Hurting Our SAT scores?

Nyasha Marufu, Features Editor

To any high school student, the SAT is one of the most important tests they have to take in their high school life. It can be the difference between getting into your dream school or getting that very important scholarship that can save your family thousands of dollars.

This is why students take the SAT very seriously, and even spend hundreds of dollars and countless hours studying to get the highest score possible.
But what happens when the College Board messes with the scores? Well, the answer is one big mess, a mess that has made students furious.

All of the uproar stems from the June 2 SAT test that had a brutal scoring curve that decreased the scores of thousands students around the nation, and left students outraged about their scores being lower than expected. Even I was affected by the grading scale, as my score should have been 1250, but I instead got 1190. Others suffered even more as they saw a 90 point decrease in their scores. A 60-point change like mine or a 90-point one could be the difference between getting into a school that one really wants to attend or not getting into a college at all.

To handle the growing unrest, the College Board responde
to the situation ten days after results were posted on their website. They reported that they generally curve the test in order to score every SAT fairly. Additionally, they took to Twitter saying, “We understand your questions about your June SAT scores. We want to assure you that your score are accurate. While we plan for consistency across administrations, on occasion there are some tests that can be easier or more difficult than usual.”

They also reported that they use a process called “equating,” which they say is used to “make sure that a score for a test taken on one date is equivalent to a score from another date.”
Despite this justification, students were still angry and frustrated by the results. The truth is, the College Board shouldn’t use this process. They are changing scores based on what they believe to be hard or easy, using some formula to “equate.” That seems flawed. Students who have taken the SAT multiple times have their own opinion as to what is hard or easy on the SAT.

It seems unfair that students who worked hard on the SAT and earned their scores fairly are having them changed (curved) just because the College Board thinks it is the right thing to do.
For those who are attentive to issues with the College Board – and most seniors are – their distrust of the group grew when it was discovered that somehow the August SAT test was leaked online. This resulted in a serious security risk, so some students’ scores were delayed as they tried to figure out who cheated. This meant that many students who didn’t cheat were left to hope that the College Board would not cancel their scores.

The August leak issue was just the latest issue for the College Board, and it made many students feel even more frustration with the organization. There are many areas that must be addressed by the College Board to ensure that all students have a fair chance on the SAT, and that they are not forced to worry about their future because the organization can’t get its act together.