When a few hundred Seattle-area students showed up to Franklin High School for an early-morning SAT exam last Saturday, they discovered their test had been canceled with no notice.
“PLEASE CONTACT COLLEGE BOARD,” read a sheet of printer paper taped to the South Seattle school’s locked front doors.
It was the second cancellation in two weeks for the high-stakes college exam at Franklin — this time because not enough proctors showed up to oversee test-takers. College Board, the organization that administers the test, scheduled the Sept. 7 time to make up for canceling an Aug. 24 test, which was called off a few days prior because of construction at the school.
Parents and students say they still haven’t received a third exam date, leaving some in a stressful limbo as early-decision deadlines for colleges loom just around the corner.
“We study for these tests for a year, and then we have to spend another sleepless night or week,” said Matt Cummings, an Inglemoor High School student who drove from Kenmore because there weren’t available seats in his area. “The communication part is the most frustrating.”
The College Board, which works with schools that want to host the exam, apologized for the cancellation and said it was working to confirm a makeup exam at a different site.
“We understand students’ frustration,” College Board spokeswoman Jaslee Carayol wrote in an emailed statement.
Seattle Public Schools is also frustrated, spokesman Tim Robinson wrote in an email. Robinson said he’s not sure why proctors didn’t show up, or why more notice wasn’t given.
School staff members serve as testing-site coordinators and are responsible for logistics, including recruiting proctors. Both the coordinators and proctors are paid by the College Board through a third-party nonprofit called Educational Testing Service.
The Seattle Times was unable to reach the testing-site coordinator at Franklin for comment before press time. Though other sites and schools in Seattle offer the test, parents and students say the seats fill up quickly.
Dara Foti says her daughter, who attends Ballard High School, is signed up for an upcoming test date in Portland just in case.
Had the first test cancellation not happened, this group of students might have had their scores by now, according to the College Board website, which says most multiple-choice scores from the Aug. 24 SAT are now available.
This wasn’t the first local hiccup for college-admissions tests this year. ACT, which administers the second-most-common entry exam, lost the tests of 40 Washington state students in August. The organization registered the students for a makeup exam this month and refunded their registration fees. The missing tests were eventually found.