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[Susan notes: In this excellent letter, Brad MacGowan points to the issues buried in news accounts of this College Board mess.]

Published in Boston Globe
03/20/2006

To the editor


THE SCORING ERRORS on the SAT force us to confront the fact that standardized testing companies such as the College Board are allowed to sell their products without any external oversight or scrutiny. The research on standardized tests such as the SAT is without exception done by the producers of the tests.



In an article in the Globe (''Better effort promised on checking SAT scores," Page B1, March 15), a spokesperson for the College Board stated, ''The College Board does its business in a very upfront and open way and does not require an external body overseeing it."



Let's remember that the latest scoring errors came to light only because two students questioned their scores and paid to have their tests rescored. Even after problems were detected, it took over two months during the time-sensitive college admissions season for the College Board to report corrected scores to students and colleges.



This problem with the SAT sounds a loud alarm. We must put the same controls on the standardized testing industry that we have on other industries that have such a significant impact on people's lives.



Bradford R. MacGowan


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