‘Utter disbelief’: Some CPS students must retake SAT over test booklet error


CHICAGO — Some students at Lincoln Park High School were told Monday that the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) they took this past spring is no longer valid.

Three months after taking the exam, the stress of standardized testing was an afterthought for many. But, now, because of an error beyond their control, many students will once again have to hit the books for the standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. 

“She’s in utter disbelief,” Billy Cales said. “She can’t believe it.”

Cales’ daughter, Nicole, is a rising senior at Lincoln Park High School. She learned the unfortunate news Monday. Cales says his daughter is not alone.

I know one girl…she got, well she thought she had a 1450 on the SAT, which is a great score. Now, it’s a zero for all practical purposes,” Cales said.

School officials said the test was administered using an incorrect test booklet from a prior exam date. As a result of the mishap, an email was sent to affected students, informing them of the error. Officials added that students could retake the test at a later date free of charge. According to the letter sent to parents, students will have two more opportunities to retake the exam: Wednesday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021.

About 760 students at four schools were impacted by the test issues.

That doesn’t change the disappointment Cales and his daughter feel, however.

“We spent a lot of money trying to have my daughter get the best score. It’s not like I could afford it,” Billy Cales said. “I had to finance the tutoring and all the studying that went along with it. Now to find out it was for nothing and now we have to revisit it, it’s upsetting.”

It’s not clear how many students were affected by the testing error.

WGN reached out to Chicago Public Schools for more information. School representatives issued the following statement:

“This has been a difficult school year for our students and the district is committed to doing everything in its power to ensure this situation does not lead to any barriers to college or scholarship eligibility. As part of this, the district is providing additional testing opportunities free of charge, and we will be altering our training, as well as implementing additional testing monitoring. We regret that any student is in this position through no fault of their own and the district will continue to work hand-in-hand hand with schools as they support impacted students.”   

CPS statement on SAT exam error

The district is hosting a virtual information session Tuesday to respond to parents’ and students’ questions.

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