Hundreds Worldwide Hit by Loss Of AP Tests

By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 18, 2006

Sections from hundreds of Advanced Placement exams taken around the world in May have been lost, according to the company that scores the tests, and students must now decide whether to retake them.

Tom Ewing, spokesman for the Educational Testing Service, which develops and scores AP exams for the nonprofit College Board, said that it was unclear exactly how many AP tests were affected but that the number was "in the hundreds, not thousands."

In some cases, Ewing said, the essay portion of the AP test is missing; in others it is the score sheet for the multiple-choice section that has been lost. ETS develops the AP exams and scores them for the College Board.

According to the Edmonton Journal in Canada, essays for 168 students who took the test in that country were lost. Students who spent spring semester at the Eisendrath International Exchange High School in Israel, which is accredited through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, have been told that portions of their tests are missing. Eisendrath students took the AP English literature exam. Some of those students are from the Washington area.

Baruch Kraus, Eisendrath's principal, said his program was informed by AP central on Aug. 10 that 54 different parts of 81 exams had been lost. He said his school had documented proof that all of the score sheets had been properly shipped. Kraus also complained that he had difficulty contacting College Board officials about the missing test material.

College Board officials referred all calls to the Educational Testing Service.

Each year some score sheets go missing for a variety of reasons, Ewing said. Some are lost at the schools where the tests are taken, he said, or during shipping, or at the warehouse, where ETS receives 2.3 million boxes with AP materials and score sheets during May and June.

Ewing said that any student whose test is affected has options to consider, depending on what part of the test is missing: retaking it and accepting a partial score or canceling the entire grade.

ETS used to administer the SAT 1 tests for the College Board but lost the contract in 2003 to Pearson Educational Measurement, which has run into grading problems of its own this year. More than 4,000 students were sent incorrectly low scores for the SAT in March, and more than 600 had better results than they deserved on a test taken last October.

Ewing said the lost AP exams are a tiny proportion of those taken: About 15,380 schools around the world participated in the AP program in 2005, and 1.2 million students took AP exams.

Ewing noted that 262 AP tests taken by students at a South Carolina high school were reported lost this year but that as preparations were being made for the students to receive partial credit, the score sheets were found at the high school.

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