Honors student says she was accused of cheating on SAT because her score was too high
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida student claims her chances of getting into college are being jeopardized by a testing company who has accused her of cheating on the SAT.
Kamila Campbell and prominent Tallahassee civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Educational Testing Service, which administers the test commonly used for college admissions, are demanding the company release her SAT score, which they say has been wrongfully withheld while it’s being reviewed.
Campbell, an 18-year-old African American honors student, said ETS is withholding her score because it jumped more than 300 points to 1230 points in five months. ETS said in a letter to Campbell there was “substantial agreement between your answers on one or more scores sections of the test and those of other test-takers.”
Why the ETS withheld Campbell’s scores
ETS told the student the “marked improvement” of her score indicates “she likely had ‘prior knowledge’ of the test,” according to a release.
“When it comes to test security, we have consistent, established procedures to follow to ensure that all students have a fair chance to show their best work and that the scores we deliver to colleges are valid,” The College Board, the organization that sends test scores to colleges, said in a statement. Working with ETS, our test security and administration provider, we place test scores under review when statistical analyses and other factors determine it is necessary.”
College Board uses ETS to administer tests. It said it celebrates when students work hard to improve test scores and doesn’t cancel tests based on score gain alone but may cancel it after a review.
Campbell said she used the time between taking the test initially in March and retaking it in October to study diligently. The first time she took it, she did so without preparation. Afterward, she practiced, worked with her teachers, received tutoring and used resources offered by Khan Academy, which offers practice tests, problems and tips.
“It is not for ETS, a private corporation, to define the limits of human achievement and betterment,” Crump said in a statement. “In concluding that the only way Kamilah could have improved her score so substantially was by cheating, ETS defamed Kamilah’s character and replaced what should have been appropriate and motivating personal pride with shame and confusion.”
A future at FSU in jeopardy
At a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Miami, Crump said by defaming Campbell, ETS threatened her qualification to obtain a Bright Futures Medallion Scholarship and jeopardized her consideration for acceptance to FSU, her dream school. Campbell wants to attend FSU’s dance program, one of the top 15 in the U.S.
Crump said ETS violated Kamilah’s constitutional right to be considered innocent until proven guilty and denied Kamilah due process. In order to take the SAT, Kamilah had no choice but to agree to arbitration in the event of a dispute and forgo her right to a court hearing, according to a press release. ETS gave Campbell two options: abandon the higher score or retake the test and score within six points of it.
Campbell, her family and Crump are demanding the score be released within two weeks. If ETS does not release the score, Crump said the family will explore every possible legal remedy.
The College Board and ETS would not say how many other students have their test scores flagged citing student privacy and test security concerns.
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The College Board’s official statement
Read the full statement from The College Board below:
“The College Board celebrates when students work hard and improve their scores on the SAT. We created Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy to give all students the chance to receive free, personalized practice. We are proud of research that shows that students who spent 20 hours on Official SAT Practice gained an average of 115 points between the PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT. These gains were consistent across race, income, and gender.
“When it comes to test security, we have consistent, established procedures to follow to ensure that all students have a fair chance to show their best work and that the scores we deliver to colleges are valid. Working with ETS, our test security and administration provider, we place test scores under review when statistical analyses and other factors determine it is necessary. When scores are under review, we work directly with students to collect relevant information and make determinations about the validity of the test scores following a comprehensive investigation of the evidence. We do not cancel scores based on a score gain alone; we will only cancel scores after we are confident that there is substantial evidence to do so.
“We don’t discuss publicly the specific facts of an individual student’s scores under review.”
Kamilah Campbell’s response letter
Read the letter Campbell, her family and Crump sent to ETS.
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