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.
Kamilah Campbell knew she had to improve her SAT score to get into @floridastate. She learned key strategies in The Princeton Review’s Cracking the SAT book. Her hard work paid off—she upped her score by 330 points. Now ETS has invalidated it, pending review. We want to know why.— The Princeton Review (@ThePrincetonRev) January 3, 2019
Our students make big gains all the time. We even offer a 1400+ guarantee for those who’ve scored 1160+. We bet on our students’ success, and we'd bet on Campbell’s, too. Students, please know there is no ceiling for your success. We believe in you. #sathttps://t.co/pP2vPfCvP9— The Princeton Review (@ThePrincetonRev) January 3, 2019
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.
The College Board better be damn sure about their accusation. How do they know that other people around her didn’t copy off HER test?— Kevin Bikes (@KevinBikes) January 4, 2019
Because she had the exact same answers as the other people who sat around her during the test...Not that hard to figure out cheating was done— Sarah Conley (@ali3nware89) January 4, 2019
Not true. What do you think there is an infinite number of different tests? Yes, they aren’t all the same but there multiple people taking the same test in the same room.— Sarah Conley (@ali3nware89) January 4, 2019
With different question numbers and the likelihood is not common. Your question 1 can be my question 8. Think a little.— Derrick (@myderrick) January 4, 2019
For some it was easy to see the racial inequity of it all.
I'm thinking racism.— Michael de la Torre (@MikedelaTorre) January 4, 2019
So people can’t study hard and improve or just black girls who already have it the worst!— BARETTA (@barettavandyke) January 3, 2019
The struggle continues for justice & equality!😱😢— Berman Patterson (@BermanPatterson) January 3, 2019
Testing while black😩— Kinnard Gilmer (@GilmerKinnard) January 3, 2019
Because you are black, 👌...but you know this.— Deirdre (@Deirdre_1964) January 4, 2019
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.
Shame on the invalidation: unless they can SHOW she cheated during the test, the scores should stand— SpaceCowboy (@spacecowlady) January 4, 2019
Mine went up 240 points the second time. Nerves and practice— ThinkThinkAboutIt (@Thinkthinkabou1) January 4, 2019
you would need ex-ray eyes to even think about cheating on that exam...(not saying she did)...those little bubble-in scan-trons? Hell it is hard to stay on the right line even on your own sheet much less looking at another....— TurtleLady (@TurtleLady18) January 4, 2019
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.