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One in 40 Drew College Board Blanks, Officials Say

May 4, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ Most of an estimated 300,000 students nationwide who took the college board test Saturday probably will be offered a make-up exam because some test booklets contained two blank pages, a spokesman for the Educational Testing Service said Sunday.

″Students have the right to take the test in as normal an atmosphere as possible,″ said Arthur Kroll, a vice president for ETS, which administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Kroll said the omitted questions apparently resulted from a printing glitch.

″We have egg on our faces,″ he said. ″It’s fair to say we’re embarrassed. We apologize to the students.″

Although ETS estimated that only 7,500 students, or about one in 40, had test booklets with blank pages, many others may have been distracted by their classmates’ dilemma and proctors’ attempts to solve it, Kroll said.

″Conceivably, every test taker might feel affected,″ he said.

Richard Noeth, another ETS official, said he doubted many of the students who received complete booklets would seek a second exam.

Kroll said ETS officials were to meet Monday to assess the extent and cause of the unprecedented problem and decide specifically what to do about it.

The booklets with the blank pages were distributed throughout the nation, as part of ETS’ policy of scrambling the 30-to-40 different test versions before they are sent to the system’s 3,000 test centers, he said.

The blank pages turned up in the middle of an experimental math section that did not count toward the student’s score. ETS routinely includes such experimental sections in the SAT, but does not identify them as such to those taking the test.

Because the section was experimental, students at some centers were afforded the option of completing the test. At other centers, test supervisors sent students who had defective booklets home with a promise of a make-up exam.

Kroll said all students who took the test probably would be sent letters offering a free make-up, either at a regularly scheduled SAT test or at their convenience.

Most students who take the SAT in May are juniors, so the flawed tests should not affect the college admission process.

ETS has had printing problems with its exams in the past, Kroll said, but never on such a scale.

″The form looked OK through the initial quality control samples we had,″ he said. ″One of the presses must have somehow been slipping through blank pages.″

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