Problems with Admissions Tests

by NYC Firm Schools on December 12, 2009

Admissions tests are difficult for students and families alike. The stress that builds for many older students during the pre-test phase is palatable and all of it culminates on testing day. That difficult situation was made worse in one Washington area recently when the tests were deemed faulty and the test takers were sent home and told to come back another day. The Washington Post carried the story.

Thousands of applicants to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County will have to re-take an admissions test because of problems with the initial exam.
When the multiple-choice test, developed by Pearson, was administered Saturday at 15 sites in Northern Virginia, scores of students sat down to testing booklets with missing or out-of-order pages.
Given the pervasive nature of the problems, “we decided it’s only fair that everyone retake the test,” said Paul Regnier, spokesman for Fairfax County Public Schools.

Admissions tests are one of the most important factors for older children’s admission to schools, and it is expected that admissions decisions will have to be delayed because of the delay in testing results.

Fairfax officials said that Jan. 23 is the “expected date” for the makeup test and they plan to mail more information to parents of the applicants. The printing errors will probably delay admissions decisions, which were scheduled to be made by early April. “It’s a pretty tight schedule to begin with,” Regnier said.
More than 3,000 students were registered to take the exam Saturday in Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties.

Problems with admissions tests are rare, though they do occur.

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