Students Outsmart S.A.T. Again; 300,000 Tests Will Be Rescored

June 02, 1982 1 min read

The College Board has begun recalculating the mathematics scores of 300,000 students who took the Scholastic Aptitude Test (sat) on May 1, after three students proved that the correct answer to one question was not among the possible answers listed on the answer sheet.

As a result of the discovery--made separately by three New York high-school students--the College Board, the sponsor of the sat, said last week that it will rescore the mathematics section of the examination without the flawed question.

It has also advised 3,000 colleges, which have already received some of the May 1 test scores, that new results will be sent out within 10 days.

Officials of the College Board, which sponsors the aptitude examination that is taken by about one million high-school juniors and seniors each year, said that most scores will remain unchanged.

But in some cases, they said, students’ scores may change by up to 10 points on the tests’ scale of 200 to 800.

The question--the fourth error discovered in the sat test within the last two years--is shown below.

In the figure above, the radius of circle A is one third the radius of circle B. Starting from the position shown in the figure, circle A will roll around circle B. At the end of how many revolutions of circle A will the center of circle A first reach its starting point?

(A) 3/2 (B) 3 (C) 6 (D) 9/2 (E) 9

The College Board’s explanation of the error said: “The circumference of the large circle is three times the circumference of the small circle. If the small circle were to rotate along a straight line segment equal in length to the circumference of the large circle, it would make three revolutions. So the intended answer to this problem was choice (B) 3.

“However, the motion of the small circle is not in a straight line, but rather around the large circle. This revolving action around the large circle contributes an extra revolution as circle A rolls around circle B. Thus, the answer to this question should have been 4, not 3.’'

A version of this article appeared in the June 02, 1982 edition of Education Week as Students Outsmart S.A.T. Again; 300,000 Tests Will Be Rescored