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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Admissions office says SAT mistakes won’t have major effects

About 150 GW undergraduate applications were affected by the grading problems that plagued nearly 5,000 SAT test-takers this year, but the mistake will have little or no effect on the admissions process, University officials said.

Kathryn Napper, director of Undergraduate Admissions at GW, said she received the names of affected students shortly after the College Board investigated the problem.

“Even with this number, we were only marginally affected,” Napper said. “Most applicants had stronger scores from a different test date.”

The College Board, which owns and administers the SAT, became aware of the problem in late January. Pearson Educational Measurement, the scanning vendor used by the College Board, revealed that a technical processing mistake had occurred due to humidity and light, or incomplete marking of answer sheets.

Pearson has also had to recheck other smaller batches of tests that were not included initially. The College Board said in a news release that 4,411 students in total have received new, higher scores, but that the “the score difference for the vast majority of students was less than 100 points across all three sections of the test.” An additional 600 students received a lower score.

The College Board has notified students whose new scores were better than first reported and sent the new scores to college counseling and admissions offices. Students whose scores would have been negatively affected were not notified.

Only four students in the GW applicant pool had stronger scores as a result of the mis-grading, said Napper, and the admissions office did not reverse any decisions.

A March 17 news release on the College Board’s Web site said that it was the organization’s policy “not to disadvantage students for technical problems.” Students who were happy with their scores may have decided to take the SATs at a later date if their actual scores were reported correctly.

The College Board acknowledged the added stress placed on students and has outlined steps taken to ensure that the problem will not happen again.

Brian O’Reilly, the executive director of SAT Information Services at the College Board, said Pearson has applied new software to detect if answer sheets have expanded due to humidity. Answer sheets will also be run twice through two different machines. The College Board has e-mailed students who will take the test this spring advising them to fill answer bubbles darkly and completely. O’Reilly said they will be reminded again by test administrators on the day of the test.

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