Students Forced To Retake AP Tests After School Makes Seating Mistake

The school board said the students were seated too close together and partitions were placed between them, both contrary to AP testing rules.

Scripps Ranch High School may soon face a lawsuit after they notified 500 students they must retake their exams over a mistake that the school committed.

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) says almost 900 tests were conducted inappropriately so the College Board invalidated their school results. But the fault lay not with the students but with the school’s administration.

The school district said the students sat too close together and partitions were placed between them. Both these things run contrary to the AP testing guidelines. The board was forced to nullify the tests even though no proof of cheating was found. Now, all 500 students will have to retake the tests for credit.

Parents of the students feel the school is punishing the students for their own mistake. They also say the school knew their seating arrangement violated the AP test rules.

One parent told 10News the school complained to the district for years over compliance issue but nothing was done to solve it.

“It's demoralizing,” said Keren Stashower, whose son Noah is one of the students being forced to retake the AP psychology test. “People need to step up and take responsibility for their mistakes," she told 10News, "not leave this up to the kids to put the energy into it.”

Another parent said, “My daughter has to retake the AP English test … the college she hopes to attend would have accepted it in place of her taking an English class. At about $1,300 per credit, that's real money.”

Taylor Williams, a Scripps Ranch High graduate affected by the seating, wrote an open letter to the College Board, stating, “I have been taught since the age of 5 to 18 when in a formal school setting to sit alphabetically. The irony of being punished for doing just that at the end of my K-12 career is not lost on me.”

A petition requesting the College Board reconsider its decision yielded more than 2,450 signatures by Wednesday night.

Parents are also considering bringing a class-action lawsuit against the school.

SDUSD Board Vice President for District B Kevin Beiser said he was disappointed by the board’s decision.

“In my opinion, they should have administered, maybe a lesser penalty, such as a sanction. Instead of going to what some people are calling the nuclear option,” said Beiser.

The school’s Superintendent Cindy Marten has apologized to the students and said she strongly disagrees with the Educational Testing Service throwing out the scores.

“On behalf of Scripps Ranch High School and all San Diego Unified, we deeply regret the fact that established procedures were not followed in this instance. We've accepted responsibility for the fact and we are conducting an internal review of AP test taking procedures at other high schools,” she said.

However, that is no comfort to the students as they will be forced to prepare themselves for another grilling round of AP testing.

The school is now offering two retesting opportunities in July and August, which will be free for all students. Students who do not want to take a retest will have their exams fees refunded.

The school board is also offering prep sessions and helping communicate to any colleges to explain the situation.

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters

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