Late permit application to blame for SAT gaffe at Mission High

Dozens of high school students were unable to take an SAT test at Mission High School on Saturday because the Educational Testing Service, which coordinates with the College Board to administer the SAT, apparently failed to apply for a permit for the site in time.

The gaffe was exposed when students showed up Saturday morning to take the test and found paper signs posted to the front and back doors saying the test had been canceled, said San Francisco resident Sara Dunn, whose daughter was scheduled to take the test.

“[They] notified none of the students ahead of time [and] they’ve been very unresponsive,” Dunn said of the test administrators, who have since scheduled a makeup exam for Oct. 17. But Dunn said that date leaves little time for students who are scrambling to submit their applications to the University of California system by the first deadline on Nov. 1.

Tom Ewing, a spokesman for the Educational Testing System, said the request for permission to administer the test at Mission High School was not able to be processed in time for Saturday’s exam.

However, it appears the organization did not apply for the permit in time. San Francisco Unified School District spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said that ETS contacted the district’s real estate office for the first time at about 3:15 p.m. Friday, and the office closes at 4:30 p.m. The manager offered to wait until 4:45 p.m., but no permit was received by then.

It was discovered Monday morning that an incomplete permit was received by fax at 7:31 p.m. Friday, Blythe said.

“The ETS has been late in submitting permit requests for several testing administrations and SFUSD staff has made special exceptions and accommodated last minute requests several times prior,” Blythe wrote in an email to the San Francisco Examiner.

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