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Akron School Board discussion focuses on status as site for SAT tests

The Akron School Board continued to discuss its status as an SAT testing site at its meeting Wednesday.

The district, which previously hosted exams in November, May and June, was dropped as a testing site for the June 2015 exam by the College Board because of a lack of test-takers.

The board discussed the issue last spring and subsequently opted not to hold its usual November exam, while focusing on the spring testing dates.

“We were looking at the problems associated with administering it last spring,” Superintendent Kevin L. Shanley said. “We decided we’d hold off on the fall and try to reorganize ourselves.”

Joseph J. Lucenti, principal of the high school, presented his findings on the subject at Wednesday’s meeting. He addressed the issue of availability of exam proctors. The College Board calls for one supervisor and a number of proctors, depending on how many students are taking the exam.

However, the College Board doesn’t inform the testing site how many students will be taking the exam until four days prior. The district is not allowed to know how many students have signed up before then, thus making it difficult to know how many proctors to seek out. Understaffing the exam can have major consequences.

“On the day of the exam, if a proctor gets sick and can’t come and then we don’t have enough, there’s a chance you could be cited by the board and then the scores can be nullified,” Shanley said.

Furthermore, Lucenti noted, students are increasingly seeking other testing locations for reasons that aren’t entirely known. During the last testing period, only 108 of the eligible 256 students took the exam at Akron, he said.

Lucenti will gather more information for the board to consider before it votes on whether to host the exam in May and June.

“Joe is going to look at suggestions from retirees and check with the union to try to get enough supervisors to report,” Shanley said, “and we can decide whether we want to go out and be a test site in the spring or not.”