AMHERST, NY - Parents and students who took the SAT at Amherst High School last weekend say as few as 12 and perhaps as many as 20 high school students were not allowed to take the exam.
Families are enraged that there wasn't more communication between the community and the school district about photo identification issues, which arose this week and came to a tipping point Saturday morning as kids were entering classrooms to take the standardized test.
On Monday, 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing reached out to the Educational Testing Services, which oversees the SAT tests. Spokesman Tom Ewing said, "the guidelines are very specific, it has to be a complete head and shouldders photograph of the person, it can't be an extremely long distance shot, it can't be a shot where the student's face is partially seen or part of it is in shadow."
"I was pretty confused and shocked, as was all the other people in there that got rejected for whatever reason," said Cassidy Reddien, who had been prepping daily for her SATs the past few months. The Amherst junior was ready to take the exam, but says she was suddenly prevented from testing because of her photo ID.
The mother of a Nardin junior was informed one day before the exam that her student's identification was not acceptable. However, it was the same photo ID she used for the March SAT test.
A cheating scandal involving dozens of Long Island high school students a couple of years ago is what prompted the enhanced photo identification procedure.
According to students, they were rejected due to photos that were deemed invalid, but when they registered online a couple months ago they were accepted by The College Board.
Some of the photo ID requirements say pictures need to be clear and easily recognizable, with a full-face view. Cassidy submitted a photo which does have a shadow, but she says it was approved weeks ago.
On Saturday it was rejected.
Cassidy says she gave a learner's permit, but still wasn't approved to take the exam, even though a non-driver ID is acceptable under the requirements
"We were verbally told twice, verbally told twice by someone that breathes, a human being, we were verbally told that it was okay that everything about her registration including the picture was okay," said Crittenden.
Other students, who say they couldn't take the exam for similar reasons, have been going to Facebook to show their frustration.
Cassidy hopes she can take the test as soon as possible. The next SAT exam will be held in the fall, when many high schoolers need those scores to start college applications.
The test cost Cassidy's parents about $50. Her parents say a refund isn't on their mind, but getting their daughter to take the test is. The family also says that the school knew of this issue with some students on Thursday, but did nothing to correct the problem.
We called the school district for comment and were told by the superintendent that the issue will be addressed on Monday. Other parents from other schools heard our earlier report and told us they also had their children turned away at tests recently as well.
Parents can call the College Board at (866) 756-7346.
The next test is in October.