One of the most stressful periods of a high school student’s life is taking the SAT. The test has caused frustration and derailed many aspiring college students’ plans to attend top schools. For many who score low on the grueling exam, intense prep courses and a retest resulting in a higher score is a sweet victory. But for one Black student in Miami Gardens, Florida, it meant an invalidated score and accusations of cheating. Now she plans to sue the testing organization and has hired attorney Ben Crump.
Kamilah Campbell wants to attend Florida State University, but her initial SAT score of a combined 900 from a test in March 2018 was a barrier to admission. She then became driven to retest and enrolled in online prep courses, got a tutor and read the popular the Princeton Review SAT prep book. In October 2018 she took the test again, confident she was prepared. When she got a letter from The College Board, the company that administers the test, instead of results it was a letter invalidating her recent test.
According to Campbell, the letter read in part, “We are writing to you because based on a preliminary review, there appears to be substantial evidence that your scores … are invalid. Our preliminary concerns are based on substantial agreement between your answers on one or more scored sections of the test and those of other test takers. The anomalies noted above raise concerns about the validity of your scores.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, Campbell told her story at a press conference arranged by Crump and said that she felt she was being accused of cheating. She told reporters that her new score was 1230 and that “I did not cheat. I studied, and I focused to achieve my dream. I worked so hard and did everything I could do.”
When alumni from FSU heard Campbell’s story they turned to fellow alum Crump to help the aspiring dance major. Crump said the family will issue a demand letter to the testing company over the matter. The letter demands that The College Board validate her SAT score in time to allow her to be accepted into FSU. “Instead of celebrating her and celebrating her achievement they are trying to assassinate her character, and we won’t stand for that,” Crump said.
Crump has given the testing organization two weeks to comply with the demand letter. If the company does not respond, further litigation will ensue.