Test seating problems prompts SAT retake

April 12, 2013 4:34:59 PM PDT
Preparing to apply for college can be stressful enough, but for juniors at one Heights high school, it's "take two" for a test that could decide their future.

They thought they could wash their hands of it, but it turns out the SAT exam that a couple hundred Reagan students took months ago is invalid, all because of their seating arrangement.

The Scholarship Aptitude Test or, SAT, can be a stressful test, lasting three hours and 45 minutes. In February, high school junior Selena Martinez took it, and she had crammed for weeks ahead of time.

She recalled, "Before the first test I was freaking out, I was drilling questions back to back."

Now she and 256 other juniors at Reagan High School in the Heights learned they will have to retake the college entrance exam.

"At first I was like, why do we have too, that was a chunk of our day wasted," Selena said. "But at the same time, I feel like it was a second chance because I know I did have a lot of nerves and I didn't know what the SAT was going to be like."

The 200-plus juniors took the SAT in February. They were sitting three to a table at 8-foot tables in the gymnasium. That was too close, according to the college board overseeing the exam.

"The college board said, 'You know, you really shouldn't have had more than two students per table.' And we had three students per table at Reagan," said HISD spokesperson Jason Spencer. "So they said we are not going to grade these exams. You need to retest theses students."

Now those tests are at their final resting place at the bottom of a trash can. For Selena, that's OK. This time around she knows what she is walking into and has more confidence.

She said, "I think it's a good opportunity for us to take it again, because it was kind of like a mock, if you look at it that way."

The students will retake the exam next Wednesday. School officials say statistics show students usually do better the second time around.

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