Students taking the SAT on Saturday across the United States found a mistake in the instructions, causing confusion about just how much time they had to complete at least one section. Now, the College Board, which owns the SAT, says it is trying to figure out what to do about the mistake, “to ensure the fairness of the test and the validity of the scores.”

Many proctors, who were given the proper instructions, apparently did not realize that students had incorrect information until they told students their time for a certain section was nearly up and students complained. Frantic proctors began calling the College Board on Saturday during the test to try to get guidance, and after the test, students and parents began posting complaints about the error on social media and other websites. For example, here is a post from a parent on the College Confidential website:

“In my daughter’s test, they told her they conferred with the College Board and that they had 25 minutes. Then 19 minutes into the section (she still thought she had six minutes) someone came into the room and told them they had to finish it within 20 minutes. So they only had one more minute. She still had 3 questions left, as she thought she had six minutes.”

Here’s a statement from the College Board on the mistake:

“Shortly before noon Eastern Time on Saturday, June 6, Educational Testing Service (ETS) informed the College Board that there was a printing error in the standard test books they provided to students taking the SAT on June 6 in the United States. The time allotted for a specific section, either section 8 or 9 depending on the edition, was incorrect in the student test books and correct in the script and manual provided to Test Center Supervisors. The student test books contained ’25 minutes’ while the manual and script contained the correct time limit of ’20 minutes.’ As soon as ETS became aware of the error during the administration of the test, they worked to provide accurate guidance to supervisors and administrators.”

A College Board spokeswoman said on Monday in an email that the “ETS and the College Board have confirmed that there was no misprint in tests administered outside the United States.” Earlier, there was an erroneous report that the same error was detected in Asia.

Bob Schaeffer, public education director of the nonprofit National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, said in an email:

“If the mistimed sections were not experimental, the College Board faces a serious test scoring problem. At a minimum, the administration of that portion of the exam was not ‘standardized’ since some students had 20 minutes to complete the items, while others had 25 minutes. Rather than its typical circle-the-wagons and say nothing non-response, the test-makers need to explain immediately how this error occurred and what they are going to do to insure score integrity.”

Katherine Levin, a spokesperson for the College Board, said the organization “understands the critical nature of this issue, and we are actively working to determine next steps to ensure the fairness of the test and the validity of the scores we deliver. We regret the confusion and concern this issue is causing for students and their families, and we will provide them and others with updated information as soon as possible.”

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