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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

SAT Sticks It to Us… Again

SAT1Run the “Search” function on this blogsite looking for PSAT and SAT, and you will quickly learn that we have endured nothing but pain and suffering from the esteemed and venerable College Board, creators of standardized tests for American students aiming for college.  This last weekend, our son took the test again, and of course, again, chaos ensued.

If you recall 1-1/2 years ago, when he took the PSAT exam in the fall of his junior year of high school, it took us six months to get it back.  Numerous calls and e-mails to the local high school and to the College Board were necessary.  Each claimed the other had dropped the ball.

Due to this delay, he did not take his SAT exam in his junior year.  satInstead, he sat for the exam in the fall of this, his senior year.  (Kinda sets back any college applications.)

This exam, held at a local university, started two hours late.  The proctor in his classroom felt that they should all wait until every possible student had arrived.  I guess that’s why the instructions indicate that everyone should arrive by 7:45 a.m. at the latest, so that those in charge may disregard those directives at their whim.  Instead of emerging at 12:00 noon, he came out around 2:00 pm, effectively messing up the rest of our family’s activities for that day. 

Apparently, the College Board does not emphasize that proctors are to follow mu11eppnikcdwje81blhdirections.  If a student is unduly late, they should be barred from the exam.  But that’s just me.

And here we are in March.  He’s taking the exam for his second time in an effort to obtain the best score possible.  Not that many universities are accepting admissions applications at this point for graduating seniors….

We arrive at the university testing site.  Hundreds of students are being admitted to the exam, waiting for their lastsat3 name initials to be called.  Groups and groups go ahead of our son, many groups being called multiple times, yet Petya’s last name never being called until the end.  He enters his assigned classroom one hour late.

The proctor asks for all of the students to present their calculators to be checked.  This was done in October and no student had any problems.  This time, fully 50% of the students had their calculators rejected and then confiscated.  Taken away, to be returned after the exam. 

111215055904-college-sat-testing-booklet-story-topThey are in shock and awe, utter disbelief and dismay.  The calculators were approved, they knew this for a fact, the same students having used them before for the test.  In our case, Benedetto had visited several office supply stores in order to purchase the correct one in the fall.  Now, suddenly, it was verboten.

On this low note, they were told by the proctor, a local high school teacher, that they should have known better.  I would say that the College Board should have communicated better.  If there were a substantive change to their rules and regulations, why not post a big alert on their website, or on the admissions ticket (8-1/2 x 11 piece of paper with student’s photo, name, date, time, etc., printed upon payment online)? 

When Petya emerged two hours late (he had to wait to reclaim his calculator), we were sitting in the car hearing othercasio-fx-260-scientific-calculator-1a students’ comments on their way out.  They were saying things along the line of they should have just gotten up and walked out.  We imagined that the test was difficult for them.  But no-!  All of their calculators had been taken.  They were so surprised and blindsided that they could not focus on any of the other sections of the test, realizing that they would most likely fail the math section.

Within the first two minutes of Petya being in the car, Benedetto was calling the College Board.  The lady who answered claimed that there had been no change to the calculator listing of approved devices.  Right.  We read her the make and model, explained that not one student had theirs confiscated in October, and that now fully 50% of the students had to do without, a definite disadvantage.  Would they really come with the wrong calculator on purpose?

She confirmed that our model was not on her approved list.  So somebody must thhave changed the requirements without notifying anyone.  Of course, back in our time, nobody used calculators for the math section, but if that’s how the kids learn today, I think it’s really a raw deal to have something like this happen.  As a matter of fact, I believe that the College Board owes these students and their families an apology, plus a refund of $51 per test, since most likely they will all have to take it… again.

But maybe that was their intention?  Ka-ching.

Oh well, all the more time to prep for the next test, right?


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