CHICAGO — Nearly 800 Chicago Public Schools students were given the wrong Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) booklet this past spring, rendering their scores invalid.
WGN first reported Monday that due to an error beyond their control, some students at Lincoln Park High School would have to retake the standardized test used for college admission. Parents notified WGN that the problem was far worse than initially believed.
CPS confirms the error affected juniors enrolled in at least four city schools, but the district claims it was not a CPS error but a school error. When asked how the process works, spokesperson James Gherardi did not have details but insisted it was not a district error that caused the wrong booklets to be distributed.
Lincoln Park high schooler Kate Hansen said studying for the test in the middle of the pandemic was already a stressful experience.
“I took an eight-week studying and tutoring course, and it was about four hours every Saturday morning,” she said.
Students at Lincoln Park, Bogan Computer Technical High School, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep and Benito Juarez Community Academy took the SAT in April. Unlike past years, to provide room for social distancing, administrators offered the test over two days. On one of those days, however, CPS administered the wrong booklet to test-goers.
“Just when you thought they couldn’t get any more incompetent, there comes up something else,” said CPS parent William Quinlan.
The mishap has caused hundreds of scores to be erased, although the exam was up-to-date and test-givers followed proper protocols.
“No kids got any unfair advantage,” Quinlan said.
While the test counts for CPS graduation requirements, colleges will not accept the test results.
“We’ve all put forth so much time and effort towards this and it’s sort of just like almost a slap in the face to us like, ‘this is how it’s going to end,'” Hansen said. “We don’t get to keep our scores and I was really content with my score.”
In a statement to WGN Monday night, CPS said it was “committed to doing everything in its power to ensure this situation does not lead to any barriers to college or scholarship eligibility. We regret that any student is in this position.”
CPS did not return requests for a follow-up interview on Tuesday.
“I feel like we’re teaching our kids that you’re not supposed to take accountability,” Quinlan said.
As a result, frustrated parents want CPS to leverage the College Board to accept the scores instead of making students retake the exam.
“I don’t know how you can’t go back to the College Board if you’re CPS or you’re the mayor?” Quinlan said. “Why isn’t she on the phone trying to solve this problem for the kids? It’s just failed leadership.”
When asked for comment the mayor’s office referred all inquires to CPS.