200 New York high school students told SATs invalid

May 17, 2012 5:15:51 AM PDT
More than 200 students took the SAT or the SAT II test at Packer Collegiate Institute on May 5. Not only did they find out those scores are canceled, but they also have only been given four days to study for the new test.

"I felt really good about those scores," student Brandon Lewis-Howell said. "It hit me hard in my heart."

Lewis-Howell has dreams of going to the University of Southern California for college, so he put in hours of hard work to prepare for his SATs. On Tuesday, he got the bad news that he'll have take the grueling four-hour test all over again.

"I worked so hard on the test just to have to take it again," he said. "I couldn't believe it."

The trouble began when an inspector from the College Board showed up for a surprise inspection at Packer Collegiate, an elite private school in Brooklyn Heights, while students were taking the SATs on May 5. According to Packer school officials, the inspector found that the desks were too close together. Students are supposed to be at least four feet apart.

"We were wrong for not seating them at the right distance," the head of Packer Bruce Dennis said. "We will fix it, but the students are caught in the middle."

Now more than 200 students from Packer and other Brooklyn high schools have only have four days to prepare for the new exam. Even worse, many high school sophomores and juniors spent the last two weeks studying for, and taking, the challenging AP exams.

"I'm furious," Brooklyn Tech junior Carly Gerson said. "I was doing the right thing. I didn't cheat, and I studied for it. I have an AP on Friday so when am I supposed to study for those tests?"

It's worth noting that none of the students have been accused of cheating. In fact, many of them weren't even taking the same test. Now they're worried about not being as prepared or as focused as they were the first time.

"The material is not in our head anymore, so we have to re-study everything," sophomore Josh Kotran said.

Adding insult to injury, the make-up test is at a high school all the way on the other side of Brooklyn, in Coney Island. Packer is providing buses for the affected students, and those buses will need to leave the school at 6:30 a.m. Needless to say, it is not exactly what the students had planned for their weekend.

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