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Firms to Pay $3 Million For SAT Scoring Errors
4,400 Eligible for $275 or More Each

By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 25, 2007

The College Board, the organization that owns the SAT, and the company that administers the college admissions test announced yesterday that they had agreed to pay nearly $3 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over inaccurate test scores for thousands of students.

The College Board and NCS Pearson, which scans the SAT answer sheets, were sued by about 4,400 students who took the test in October 2005. The students said that they were given results lower than their actual score because of a problem with scanning their answer sheets.

Under the agreement, each of the students has the option of receiving $275 or submitting a claim for more money. A retired judge will issue decisions.

College Board spokeswoman Edna Johnson said the organization had quickly rectified problems with the scoring.

"The settlement reflects the fact that the score differences for the vast majority of affected test takers were very small and we at the College Board re-reported the scores to colleges, universities and scholarship services in a very timely fashion," Johnson said.

The advocacy group FairTest, which advocates against standardized tests and which initially publicized the October 2005 scoring error, applauded the settlement.

"Payment of nearly $3 million . . . is a significant admission of the real harm done to several thousand students by the October 2005 SAT scoring error," FairTest said in a statement. "This case is an important reminder that tests are imperfect products that should not be relied upon to make high-stakes judgments about students, teachers or the quality of education."

Problems with results from the SAT and other standardized tests have periodically come up, including scoring errors attributed to scanning issues and lost test score sheets.

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