A federal judge ruled that over 500 students from Scripps Ranch High School will have to retake their Advanced Placement (AP) test scores Friday.
San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) filed a lawsuit against the College Board and Educational Testing Services (ETS) on June 7, after the board invalidated Scripps Ranch test scores because of improper seating arrangements, according to a statement.
The suit claimed the College Board unilaterally invalidated 844 AP exam scores spanning nine different subjects without cause. In response, the College Board said the district has admitted that the students were sitting too close together.
The district claimed the College Board ruling was a breach of contract, and students would be penalized thousands of dollars in college credits if the test results remain voided.
SDUSD Board Vice President for District B Kevin Beiser said the school board should have administered a lesser penalty.
College Board spokeswoman Jaslee Carayo defended the College Board’s decision, stating colleges expect the integrity of the AP scores to be protected.
“When a high school does not comply with the College Board’s test administration requirements, an indeterminate number of students can gain an unfair advantage,” said Carayo, in a statement. “For that reason, while we take the decision to cancel scores very seriously, there is no alternative in such situations.”
A test proctor filed an incident report with the College Board after one student was suspected of cheating at the school, which caused the College Board to launch an investigation.
The investigation showed seats at Scripps Ranch High School were too close together while students were taking the exam, and partitions were separating the students.
Partitions are prohibited and there is a minimum distance required, according to the College Board’s seating rules.
SDUSD stated there was no real evidence of cheating but legally the agency has the right to invalidate test scores.
Families were notified of the College Board’s decision to invalidate test scores in June, when students were already gone for summer vacation or working jobs and unable to make the retest dates.
“We were told where to sit, it was not our choice,” said Marissa Barnes, an incoming senior at Scripps Ranch High School. “Now because of that we have to suffer.”
SDUSD will provide free retests, with the first retest dates scheduled for July 17 through July 20, and more to follow in August.
Students who do not take the retests will be reimbursed fees for the first exam, according to SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten in a statement.
More AP retest information is available on the Scripps Ranch High School website.