The Proctor Nightmare
Sign this petition to urge standardization of SAT/ACT proctors and test site: https://www.change.org/p/high-school-families-make-each-sat-act-proctor-and-test-room-standardized-8bc51f5c-0f5d-44c7-8129-a4e1e21653df
Imagine it’s the morning of test day. Your student wakes up fully rested, prepared and confident that their SAT/ACT preparation is going to pay off. They’ve done their due diligence. They’ve hit the books, found a tutor, and done seven practice tests, showing a consistent score increase. A lot is riding on this test, but they don’t fret. As they enter the test site, they trust the process and know they did everything they could to maximize their performance. Ten minutes after walking into their testing location, however, something doesn’t seem right. The reading section time constraints written on the board are incorrect, and when the student questions the proctor about the time constraints they know to be accurate, they are faced with backlash and ridicule. With no choice but to shrug off this display of incompetence, the student continues the section, focused on staying calm and doing their best.
Then comes the math section. Fifteen minutes in, the student is interrupted by the proctor harshly knocking on their desk, vaguely gesturing for them to exit the classroom. Shocked, the student walks outside, eyeing the time and hoping this interruption won’t affect their test score. The proctor berates the student for supposedly lifting their calculator during the section and tells the student they have no choice but to cancel their test. Absolutely befuddled by the baseless accusation, the student pleads with the proctor and the test director. After ten minutes of arguing, the test director agrees to let the student continue without the use of a calculator and without any time compensation. Understandably, the student’s anxiety from the math debacle stays with them during the other sections of the test and they can’t stop thinking about the obvious disadvantage they were unfairly handed. Further, the proctor is constantly knocking on other students desks subjecting them to baseless accusations as well. By the time the student finishes the test and walks out the door, they can’t even remember the confident student they were just a few hours earlier and they feel as if the dreaded “standardized test” has once again bested them.
Now you might have guessed by the specific details of the encounter that this hypothetical situation is not hypothetical at all. In fact, this was the experience of one of our very own students who took the June 8th ACT at Anne Arundel Community College. While this might seem like an anecdotal incident, it’s truly just the tip of the iceberg. Students from all over the country are faced with untrained, unprofessional proctors and unfair testing conditions. Standardized tests have standardized rules, regulations and time constraints that must be abided by in order to maintain fair testing conditions, but time and time again the ACT and the CollegeBoard fail to uphold their own standards. Some students only have one chance at this test, whether for financial or logistical reasons. It is absolutely unacceptable that proctor error and incompetence can potentially undermine a student’s only attempt. The real kicker is that most students won’t even know when the proctor sets the wrong time for a section, and even more students won’t have a team of tutors ready to fight for them. Sign this community petition to show the ACT and SAT that we are committed to ensuring that all students, from all backgrounds, are subject to a truly standardized testing experience.