Leaked SAT Exam Causes Concern of Skewed Scores


Screenshot of user Qifan Yang's Tweet

This tweet by Twitter user Qifan Yang, published just hours after the SAT had been administered in the United States, revealed that the August exam had been used for studying by many East Asian students prior to the test.

Jenny Won, Business Manager

High school students gathered in droves at testing centers all over the nation Aug. 25: a common sight on SAT testing dates. Outrage soon followed the exam, when students learned that the test had been leaked weeks before.

A tweet showing a Chinese SAT workbook that included the Aug. 25 form went viral within hours. Other sources soon confirmed that the SAT exam administered was identical to the one given in October 2017, which educators in China and South Korea had access to. While repeat tests have occurred before,  this is the first time a leaked exam has been reused.

Standardized exams like the SAT are an essential part of the college admissions process.

“The SAT is a national standard that all students are judged by, so it lets colleges compare students from different schools,” counselor Ryan Itchon said.

Although students had no way of knowing that this particular exam would be reused, those who had previously seen it would have likely performed better than students seeing the test for the first time. Especially because the SAT is graded on a curve, this unfair advantage could negatively impact the scores of everyone else, including Portola High students.

“The College Board should work harder to improve their system,” sophomore Annie Li said. “They can reuse tests but should be more wary of which tests they reuse. One from last year is too recent.”

On Aug. 27, College Board, the company that administers the SAT, said in an official Twitter statement: “If we determine students have gained an unfair advantage, we will take appropriate actions, including cancelling test scores.”

Although no scores have been officially invalidated yet, many students reported that their score reports had been delayed as the College Board continues to analyze suspicious scores. Results will be finalized within the next eight weeks.