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College Board Waives October SAT Fee for Students Affected by June Error

The fallout continues from the printing error that led to conflicting time instructions in the administration of the June 6 SAT taken by nearly a half million students.

A Long Island high school student has filed suit for breach of contract, the National Center for Fair and Open testing is calling for affected students to be compensated, and the College Board is now offering to waive the fee for students hurt by the incident who want to take the October SAT.

The New York Daily News reports that the Long Island student is suing the College Board and the Educational Testing Service for unspecified monetary damages and suggests that the affected test-takers should get a free retest.

Last week, the College Board reported it would not score two sections of the SAT after it was discovered that the student test booklet indicated a time limit of 25 minutes for certain math and reading sections, while the manual and script gave the correct time of 20 minutes.

In a Q&A section of its website that was updated last night asking about the opportunity for a retest, the College Board says: "We remain confident in the reliability of scores from the June 6 administration of the SAT and don't want to cause undue anxiety for students by making them believe they need to sit for the test again. However, we have waived the fee for the October SAT administration for students who let us know that their testing experience was negatively affected by the printing error and we will continue to do so."

College Board officials say they are getting the word out about the option on social media and impacted students need to contact the College Board's customer service for the waiver.

Jeff Fuller, the president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling and a director of student recruitment at the University of Houston said the episode is unfortunate for both students and families eager to begin or continue their college admission search.  "While I commend the College Board for their swift response to this, it does speak to a bigger issue in test security, test preparation, and other testing-related matters that do add to the already stressed-out student experience," said Fuller in an email, adding that he has not  heard of any colleges publicly stating they won't accept scores from the June 6 test administration.

In a statement from FairTest, Bob Schaeffer, public education director, said because of the timing disruption and subsequent scoring confusion, all test-takers should be reimbursed a portion of their registration fee, offered a chance to cancel their scores, and take the SAT again at no cost. "It appears that the College Board is 'making it up on the fly' to stay one step ahead of criticism and potential litigation," said Schaeffer in a statement.  "The decision not to score two entire test sections is unprecedented in the history of the SAT. It is not justified by anything we have seen in the published literature about the exam."

A petition to allow for a retest, started by two New York high school students last week, now has over 700 supporters.

The next SAT will be on October 3, with results available to students by Oct. 23-28. Scores from the June 6 test are expected to be released in the usual time frame by June 25.

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