About 500 students will have to retake their Advanced Placement (AP) exams due to violations of test administrator seating policy, officials with the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) said.
Many AP exams taken at Scripps Ranch High School have been declared void because the chairs in which the students were seated during the testing session were placed too close together in the exam room. Partitions were placed between students, which also violates policy.
The SDUSD Board Vice President for District B, Kevin Beiser, said he is disappointed in the board's decision to void the students' AP exams.
"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.
There is no evidence of student cheating, according to SDUSD.
A petition requesting that the College Board reconsider voiding the test scores for the students has gathered more than 2,300 signatures as of Wednesday night.
The College Board and its test administrator, Educational Testing Service (ETS), notified school officials that the test results had been invalidated on Wednesday.
Based on the investigation, the students were seated too closely together with partitions placed between their desks. The College Board's seating rules prohibit any kind of partitions.According to the College Board, those seating rules are in place to make sure no student gains an unfair advantage.
SDUSD officials say they strongly disagree with the decision to void the students' AP exams, but legally, the agency has a right to invalidate the test scores.
Students will have several opportunities to take make-up exams, with the first retest dates set for July 17 through July 20. The next opportunity will be in August.
The void AP exams could have big consequences for students with summer vacation plans or other conflicts during the retesting dates. It's especially significant for seniors who already planned their first semester of college feeling confident with their prior test performance.
"We were told where to sit, it was not our choice," said incoming senior at Scripps Ranch High School, Marissa Barnes. "Now because of that, we have to suffer."
Barnes added she has a summer job and will not be able to make the retest dates.
A parent and student forum is planned at Marshall Middle School on July 5 at 6 p.m. to discuss this incident further.