If you always thought you scored higher on a standardized test than the computers at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J., said you did, then consider the case of Patrick Kerry Cameron of Baltimore.
Cameron, 28, a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, took the Maryland bar examination last February and in April, much to his distress, he was informed that he had failed.
Then, quality controllers in Princeton found a "crinkle in the corner" of Cameron's answer sheet.
The crinkle covered up some of Carmeron's answers when the ETS computer scanned his test, according to ETS spokesman Robert Moulthrop. When Cameron's bar examination was corrected by a human being, it turned out he had passed. Cameron was informed early this week by the Board of Law Examiners for the State of Maryland.
"I just don't know what to say. I'm very happy to say the least," said Cameron who works for a Baltimore law firm.
Joanne Dowgwillow, clerk to the Board of Law Examiners in Annapolis, said yesterday that 59 applicants to the bar had to have their examinations recorrected but Cameron was the only ont who gained enough points to pass the test.
Education Testing Service spokesman Moulthrop said the crinkle apparently occurred inside the computer. He said that to his knowledge it was the first time a mechanical error interferred with the accuracy of computer corrections at ETS. The testing service, established in 1948, processes 12 million pieces of paper a year - primarily by computer, Moulthropp said.
Moulthrop said the crinkle was discovered during a quality control check of the multiple choice seciton of the bar examination, which is supplied by ETS. During the check, a random sample of exams is scored by hand to see if the results match the scores figured by the computer.
"We are very careful with the answer sheets. We have rigorous quality control. As far as I know this has never happened before," Moulthrop said.