SAT botches scoresThe Associated Press
It's the mantra of the SAT: Check your work. Apparently, the testers didn't
do it carefully enough.
The College Board made a mistake on the math portion of the exam, and it was
a 17-year-old from Peterborough, N.H., who recognized it.
As a result, the scores of as many as 45,000 high school students who took
the Scholastic Assessment Test last fall will be boosted as much as 30 points.
The math portion of the test is worth 800 points.
"We made a mistake. We screwed up," Brian O'Reilly, director of the SAT
program, said Thursday.
It was the first time the College Board has admitted an error in the SAT
Colin Rizzio, who took the test Oct. 12, along with about 350,000 other
college-bound students, found the flaw in the multiple-choice answers to an
The algebra problem used the letter "a" to stand for a number. The test
writers intended for students to assume that "a" is a positive number, in which
case the correct answer is C.
However, if you assume that "a" could also be a negative number, the correct
answer is D: "Cannot be determined."
"I was kind of hesitant when I circled that one in, so I proceeded through
the test," Rizzio said Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America." Afterward, he
contacted the Princeton, N.J.-based Educational Testing Service, which develops
and administers the test for the College Board.
SAT officials were amazed that the flaw had escaped their experts and that a
student had spotted it while taking the all-important three-hour test.
Math questions on the SAT tests are developed by former math teachers,
reviewed by high school teachers or math professors and then checked by members
of the SAT committee, O'Reilly said.
"At least a dozen individuals, seven of them present or former math teachers,
missed it. It got by all of them," O'Reilly said. "The math teachers all had to
say, 'You know what? He's right.' There was a certain level of embarrassment at
not having thought the question through enough to come up with the answer he
came up with."
The SAT, a test of both math and verbal skills, is the most widely used
college admissions exam in the nation.
About 1.8 million people take it annually.
The corrected scores will be sent via Federal Express to the affected
students and the colleges they applied to so the error won't hurt their chances
Rizzio's older brother, Aaron, described him as an above-average student at
Contoocook Valley Regional High School, 45 miles west of Manchester, N.H.
"He likes to point out errors. This gave him a thrill, for sure," he said.
Rizzio has already been admitted to Clarkston University in Potsdam, N.Y. In
a letter read on "Good Morning America," Clarkston President Denny Brown said:
"I think he is precisely the kind of student we're looking for - inquisitive,
exacting, committed to excellence."
But Rizzio, an aspiring physicist who has also applied to Duke and Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute, wasn't saying where he will go.
<관련 자료들>Senator's letter, "TRIBUTE TO COLIN RIZZIO FOR REVEALING A SAT ERROR"
국제적 공분을 일으킨, 성균관대 보복사건
©1997 The Michigan Daily
Letters to the editor should be sent to
about this site should be addressed to