Students, parents express frustrations after over 1,000 unable to take SAT exam in East Bay

Sunday, June 2, 2024
More than 1,000 students unable to take SAT exam in East Bay
About 1,400 high school students who were about to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SATs, in the East Bay on Saturday could not take the exam.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Over 1,000 high school students who were about to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SATs, in the East Bay on Saturday morning could not take the exam.

Isabelle Davis was one of the students who showed up at the Oakland Marriot Saturday morning, signed up to take the SAT test.

"It was really shocking and disappointing. Especially because I have been preparing for this for weeks," Davis said. "We study so much for it, pay a lot for tutors, and we get there and we can't take the test."

Students couldn't take the test because the Wi-Fi wasn't working. That's according to the College Board, which administers the SAT. In a statement to ABC7 News, it says that over 1,400 students were not able to take the test because of a the Wi-Fi problem.

"You'd think that they have been running this organization for like, a 100 years, they'd have a backup plan," Davis said.

Davis said the students sat in limbo for three hours until they were told to go home.

While some colleges no longer require the SAT as part of the application, Davis is applying to schools that do. Early applications are due in November. And Davis says there are no remaining Bay Area test dates to meet that deadline.

"It's shocking really. There is no accountability. And that's very clear," said Brian Davis, Isabelle's father.

As a parent, he is frustrated that his daughter may now be at a disadvantage. And he adds that there needs to be more accountability when problems like this arise.

"It's a monopoly. It's not like you can take the test from somebody else. You're stuck. And so they have no accountability. They treat these students very poorly. And no one is holding them to account," Davis said.

In its statement, the College Board says student demand has exceeded capacity. And that there's shortage of test centers. The College Board says that it did, however, add capacity for 6,000 extra seats for the May and June test dates.

"If you look at the College Board testing sites now, it is all full," said Eunice Charles.

She says she was told her that her son will get his money back. But her concern is how and when he can re-test -- not a refund.

"I just want to know if they are going to offer another date? Is it going to be easy for us to get a date? Can you open up more space for us, the students who missed it today?" Charles said.

Families say the College Board told them they will get an email outlining the next steps.

Officials said in part, "We know this was an incredibly difficult situation for students who worked hard to prepare for the test. We deeply apologize to all affected students."

The exam just went all-digital this year replacing the bubbles students used to fill in with pencil.

SAT testing spots have been limited in Northern California.

The College Board on Saturday said there needs to be more testing centers:

"We depend on local schools and other locations to administer SAT Weekend. Many test centers in California have not reopened post-pandemic and since the University of California system's 2020 decision to stop accepting test scores. But student demand remains high in California. We regularly ask closed centers to reopen, as well as ask existing centers to add more seats citing continued student desire to take the SAT. As that was not enough to address the capacity issues, we embarked on working with a vendor to open up non-traditional testing sites."

Administrators say students will receive a full refund and will be able retest at a later date.

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