March 20, 2002 2 min read

Early Release: Nervous high school students can now find out their SAT scores online 10 days early—if they’re willing to fork over an extra $13.

The New York City-based College Board, which sponsors the $25 college-entrance exam, began offering the speeded-up service this past fall, said Chiara Coletti, the organization’s vice president of communications. The College Board has offered a similar service by phone for the past four years.

“There was a lot of demand from a vocal minority of students, who were overly anxious to receive their scores earlier than the typical three weeks after the test,” Ms. Coletti said. “We decided to also try the Web, although we’ve found students are more likely to use the phone service.”

Since October, 312,000 students out of 1.8 million who have taken the SAT, or about 18 percent, have requested their scores either by phone or online.

The Harvard Way: Harvard University faculty members have voted to stop awarding college credit to entering freshmen who have taken Advanced Placement exams in high school—unless those students have earned the highest possible score on the tests. The change will take effect with Harvard’s class of 2007.

The vote, taken last month, was in response to a memo circulated by Harry Lewis, the university’s dean of arts and sciences, that said students with lower AP scores exhibited “significantly inferior” preparation for college-level coursework.

The move by Harvard comes as the Advanced Placement program is undergoing increased scrutiny. The National Research Council issued a report last month criticizing AP courses in mathematics and science for more resembling test-preparation seminars than the in-depth, enriching academic experiences they are touted to be. (“Scholars Critique Advanced Classes in Math, Science,” Feb. 20, 2002.)

Some 845,000 students nationwide took AP exams last year—a number that has increased steadily by 8 percent to 10 percent a year over the past decade, according to officials with the College Board, which sponsors those tests as well.

Fourteen percent of the AP students posted the highest score, a 5. Another 20 percent scored a 4, and 27 percent earned a 3, said Lee Jones, the College Board vice president responsible for the AP program.

Harvard will still use the test results to determine course-level placement, said Andrea Shen, a spokeswoman for the arts and sciences faculty, but will award credit only to students who score a 5.

—Scott Wright

A version of this article appeared in the March 20, 2002 edition of Education Week