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Black Student Hires Lawyer To Fight College Board’s Rejection Of SAT Scores For Being Too High

Screenshot CNN video via YouTube

Florida high school senior Kamilah Campbell is bucking the system—the collegiate testing system that is, after Educational Testing Services (ETS) and the College Board (the private companies that administered Campbell’s SAT test) decided to reject her SAT scores for—wait for it—being too high.

Campbell, who according to CNN has a “3.1-grade point average and a lifetime of dance experience,” has secured legal representation in order to challenge the SAT score rejection and is concerned that she may miss her chance at attending Florida State University (FSU) to study dance and business.

That’s because FSU’s admission window closes in just two weeks but the review process Campbell and her attorney Ben Crump (an FSU alum and prominent civil rights attorney) have requested from the College Board typically, takes four to six weeks to complete.

NBC’s News Channel 6 reports Campbell is determined:

“You have to work hard and study and focus to achieve your dreams and I’m not going to let ETS take what I earned away from me. I studied and I dedicated and I sacrificed so many hours of my time to study for this test so I could get my goal and they’re not going to take that away from me.”

Why did they reject her scores?

Crump believes the only problem with Campbell’s test score is that ETS is focusing on the 330 point jump in Campbell’s scores from her first pass at the test on March 10th, when she scored a 900 (without any prep on the advice of a school guidance counselor) and her final score of 1230 taken after 7 months of hard work—something that it appears the testing services believe to be impossible despite many SAT prep courses being offered and suggested by the companies.

Now, all Campbell’s hard work is being called into question, after ETS and the College board declared her October score “invalid,” and alleged in a statement to CNN that there may be evidence of cheating.

Watch her CNN interview here.

So far it seems ETS and the College Board may be in the minority in their opinion though.

NBC News Channel 6 reports that the NAACP and several Miami-Dade County school board members seem to be standing by the beleaguered college hopeful.

Miami-Dade NAACP President Ruban Roberts spoke out Friday to demand answers: 

“We are very concerned about the process of how these cases are identified,” Roberts said at a press conference.

Those who know Campbell’s study habits best are in her corner as well.

According to the Miami Times Campbell’s teacher Professor Julio Estrada and her study partner, honor student Temprest Toombs (who helped her to study for the math section of the test) are also lending their support, with Toombs noting:

“I offered [Campbell] help on the math section with the use of the Princeton SAT book.”

The book is the same one Campbell used with her tutor.

“Most of the [study] sessions were supervised by my mom.”

Over on Twitter, The Princeton Review (the SAT guide Campbell is said to have used to prep for the test and up her scores) also pushed for answers on behalf of Campbell. The best-selling SAT prep book can be found here.

Still, according to CNN, the College Board maintains that “a score is never flagged for review solely on score gains,” noting “substantial agreement between . . . answers on one or more scored sections and those of other test takers,” and calling into question “the student’s scratch work.”

Though some Twitter users had a little backtalk for that “substantial agreement” section of their statement.

For some it was easy to see the racial inequity of it all.

Campbell’s attorney told CNN:

“It is not for ETS, a private corporation, to define the limits of human achievement and betterment. In concluding that the only way Kamilah could have improved her score so substantially was by cheating, ETS defamed Kamilah’s character and replaced what should have been appropriate and motivating personal pride with shame and confusion.”

Without clear proof of cheating, the whole thing just seems hugely unfair.

So far, Campbell and her attorney have refused a retest and are asking for her test score in question to be released so that she can have a shot of making the FSU deadline and procuring funding for her schooling.


Written by Vanessa Nix Anthony

Vanessa is a freelance-flame-haired-word-ninja-for-hire with a passion for storytelling. Her writing has been featured in The Oregonian, Baltimore Magazine, Oregonlive, KPTV, Metro Parent, and Trulia, among others. She’s the author of the Amazon title, “In Less than a Year,” and her successful Portland-based copywriting agency, The Portland Writer has been helping businesses tell their brand’s unique stories for over a decade. When she’s not writing, cooking, or making magical worlds out of cardboard for her son, Vanessa is hard at work illustrating her forthcoming children’s books or belting out karaoke to favorite 80s or Disney villains tunes. TWITTER: @nessnix, INSTA: @nessnixtony