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How A Distance Of Two Feet Invalidated 500 AP Tests At Scripps Ranch High

A photo of a test answer sheet. June 8, 2017.

Photo by Megan Wood / KPBS

Above: A photo of a test answer sheet. June 8, 2017.

Two feet. For 500 Scripps Ranch High School graduates, that is the difference between summer vacation and cramming. The students learned Friday they will have to retake their Advanced Placement exams.

Test administrator Education Testing Service is invalidating the tests taken in May because students were seated too close together. It requires that students sit at eight-foot tables. Scripps Ranch High School used six-foot tables.

It also used partitions, which are not allowed.

“I’m very disappointed that proper protocols were not followed at this site for some AP tests,” said San Diego Unified Board Trustee Kevin Beiser. “I’m equally disappointed that the College Board and the ETS test company (are) invalidating the scores, which I think is an overreaction, as there’s no evidence of student cheating at all.”

Students will be offered a retest or refund on the test company’s dime. And Scripps Ranch teachers are mobilizing to offer last minute test prep classes.

Retest and test prep dates are available on the school's website. The district is also hosting a town hall meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday at Marshall Middle School.

The district said the mishap would not affect college admissions.

The district said the school reported a “test irregularity” for one student, and that triggered the investigation. It would not say what that irregularity was, citing student privacy, but said it was not cheating. ETS requested a seating chart and later sent a representative to San Diego to measure the tables.

Beiser said the district explored appealing the decision but found past appeals lodged by other districts were unsuccessful.

Superintendent Cindy Marten said the district takes full responsibility for the mistake.

“The students of Scripps Ranch did not do anything to precipitate this decision by the College Board and ETS,” she said. “We deeply regret the fact that established procedures were not followed.”

Marten said the district is reviewing testing protocols at all of its campuses, has selected a new proctor for Scripps Ranch High School and will make training for proctors mandatory. It was previously voluntary.

About 500 Scripps Ranch High School graduates learned Friday they will have to retake their Advanced Placement exams.

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