Clarifying the College Board’s Score Review Process
Clarifying the College Board’s Score Review ProcessCollege Board Communications
As a not-for-profit mission-driven organization, the College Board is committed to increasing access to college for students from all backgrounds.
We take extremely seriously the concerns raised about our score review process. Behind every score is a young person with a future ahead of them. We take the utmost care because students’ lives are directly involved.
When we issue scores, we need to make sure they are valid and trustworthy. As such, we conduct statistical analyses on every answer document we receive for every SAT administration to flag potential score validity concerns. In each administration, the vast majority of scores are released; there is only a relatively small number of scores placed under review or cancelled.
In the review process, we give the benefit of the doubt to the student and we never hold or cancel scores unless there is very strong evidence. We do our best to honor the work students do and ensure we have all the evidence that should inform decisions about score reviews.
Our analyses do not factor into account any individually identifying information about the student. The process of flagging scores for review does not consider the race, gender, or other personal attributes of the students.
We strongly celebrate students of all backgrounds soaring on the SAT and claiming their future. We created Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy to give all students the chance to receive free, personalized practice. We recently celebrated that 100,000 students improved their SAT score by 200 points through free practice on Khan Academy. These gains were consistent across students of every background, regardless of race, income, and gender.
We hope that what follows clarifies some of the aspects of the process that we must follow when we see concerning evidence around scores.
- Student scores are never placed under review or cancelled simply because of score gains. Score reviews are triggered by a range of factors that cast doubt on the validity of a score. We follow the same process for reviewing scores for all students; race, ethnicity, or any other personal attributes have no role in this process.
- Here are some of the types of evidence that can prompt a score review or suggest invalidity:
- A student’s answer sheet resembles another student’s, or more concerningly, a group of students who have very similar answers, including the same wrong answers.
- The same group includes students whose scores have been canceled for irregularities in the past.
- The group of students’ answers match not only one another’s, but an answer key or “cheat sheet” that has been found circulating among students.
- There is an absence of any scratch work in the student’s testing booklet.
Each of these factors and other similar evidence are rare. In combination, they are extremely rare and establish very strongly that a score is not valid.
- Any student can confirm their original score by promptly taking a retest (free of charge and at the student's convenience), and the student only needs to score within the range of the original score to have it released. For example, in many cases, if a student scores within 120-150 points of their reviewed score in both the Reading and Math sections, the student can confirm the score that was under review.
- Students can also submit evidence throughout the review process, and they always have the option of a hearing with a neutral arbitrator. We want to ensure that all of the evidence is considered before making determinations that can impact a student’s score.
Let us be more than clear. We celebrate score gains by students and have dedicated scholarships for students who improve. We have released data to the public celebrating score gains from students of all backgrounds.
We would prefer never to have to hold or cancel scores, but we must hold students to certain standards to ensure that all students have a fair chance to show their best work and that the scores we deliver to colleges are valid.
This post was updated on 1/9/2019