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After SAT Scores Invalidated, Retake on Saturday Cancelled for Brooklyn Students

Park Slope and other Brooklyn students gearing up for an SAT makeup exam on Saturday, after their May 5 scores were invalidated, received a last-minute notice that the exam is postponed until June 16.

The Brooklyn SAT nightmare, where almost 200 students’ test scores were invalidated after a surprise inspection of the testing site and affected some students from , is not over.

The makeup exam at Abraham Lincoln High School scheduled for Saturday has been postponed.

At 2 p.m. on Friday, the head of Packer Collegiate Institute received a call from College Board, the company that is in charge of the SAT, stating that the retake exam is cancelled and needs to be rescheduled because of the .

Almost 200 students who took the SAT exam on May 5 at Packer, a private school in Brooklyn Heights where some Berkeley Carroll School students took the test, were told that their scores were invalidated after a surprise inspection by the Educational Testing Service, which found that the students’ seats were too close together, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The Educational Testing Service, which administers the SAT on behalf of the College Board, mandates that seats and desks must be four feet apart. According to the inspection at Packer, they were not separated up to regulation.

The ETS said that they “regret the inconvenience and frustration” the postponement has caused students and their families, but they had no choice.

“A marathon ending in close proximity to the testing site would have been problematic in terms of noise, spectators, street closures, etc.,” Thomas Ewing, a representative for ETS wrote to Patch in an email.

The makeup exam is now scheduled for Saturday, June 16. The location has yet to be determined.

Ewing said that the last-minute cancellation was partly due to the fact that they did not know that the marathon would be happening near Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island.

“Unfortunately, our contacts at Abraham Lincoln High School were unaware of the marathon when they agreed to open their building for the makeup,” Ewing wrote. “When ETS followed up with them, it was determined the school was not a suitable location given the marathon.”

Although the ETS said that they found it difficult to tell nearly 200 students that their May 5 scores did not count due to a “misadministration” and then that the makeup needed to be postponed, they are “ensuring a standardized, fair testing experience for all students” to maintain the integrity of the SAT.

“This chain of events further underscores the significant difficulties created when test-center personnel fail to follow test administration and security protocols,” the ETS wrote in a statement on Friday.

But, Bill Knauer, the assistant head of school at Packer told Patch that the last-minute cancellation should not have happened the way it did.

“They have determined that the test site is not appropriate because of the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, but we have told them about the marathon since day one,” Knauer said on Friday afternoon. “They said the test site would be too difficult to get to because streets are going to be closed and that logistically it would have been a nightmare. So they cancelled.”

Knauer said that the head of school, Dr. Bruce Dennis, found an alternate school near Packer on Friday, inspected it, made sure there were enough desks and chairs, but that ETS said they could not use the space because they have never proctored a test there.

“I feel horrible for these kids,” Knauer said. “And we even found an alternative site that they would not accept.”

Since Packer received notice that the makeup was cancelled, Knauer and Dennis have been contacting each student who took the test there on May 5, which includes close to 50 different schools, including Berkeley Carroll on Lincoln Place.

Officials from Berkeley Carroll said they were not commenting on the situation at this time.

“Our priority is the students, the Packer students and others, who were caught in the center of this,” Knauer said. “All along we have accepted responsibility for the fact that the tables were too close together. We think the reaction to this is completely untenable, including the fact that they are cancelling it today.”

Knauer said that he hopes they can make right with the students.

“Again, these kids who have studied, worked hard and have been stressed out the first time are now told that it is not happening tomorrow,” Knauer said. “For us, the worst part of it is that it is cruel to the kids. We are doing what we can to lessen the impact of that, but now none of this is under our control.”

Was your kid's SAT scores invalidated after the May 5 test at Packer? If so, please E-mail Will Yakowicz at will.yakowicz@patch.com

Jenny May 19, 2012 at 12:38 AM
this is such a shame. those poor kids.
james May 19, 2012 at 08:47 AM
I agree. It's the students who are paying the price unfairly.
Anthony Vassallo May 19, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Glad to see that the Packer administrators cannot understand how to use a tape measure.

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