Kamilah Campbell is a Florida high school student who was accused of cheating and had her SAT test invalidated because her score improved “too much,” she says. CBS News reported that Campbell, 18, received a letter saying her SAT was invalid because of anomalies.
Campbell says her score improved from 900 to 1200 thanks to tutoring and an online test prep program.
As a result of her test being invalidated, Campbell cannot apply for SAT score-based scholarships and missed the deadline to apply to Florida State University, her first choice school.
Attorney Benjamin Crump told CBS that he is considering a lawsuit.
Educational Testing Services, which oversees the testing, told CBS that they do not invalidate scores based solely on improvement. The organization said it considers other factors, which it declined to disclose.
If her test is not validated, Campbell will have to take the test again.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kamilah Campbell Improved Her Test Score by 300 Points
The Miami Times reported that the first time Campbell took the SAT as a junior she scored around 900.
She wanted to apply to Florida State University, which requires an SAT score of 1,200 or higher, so she enrolled in tutoring and extra prep to improve her score.
Campbell told The Miami Times she was tutored at the Khan Academy and spent more than five hours each week preparing to retake the test.
Campbell said she attended the Khan Academy every week and also received math student from an honor student at her school, Michael M. Krop Senior High School.
Campbell has a 3.1 GPA, The Miami Times reported.
When Campbell retook the test, her score improved, though it’s unclear by how much because the score was flagged. Campbell said she believed she scored between a 1,230 and 1,240 based on conversations with representatives at the Office of Testing Integrity but does not know the exact score.
“I don’t know for sure what I got because they won’t release the score,” she said.
2. Testing Company Accused Kamilah Campbell of Cheating
After Campbell retook the test, she received a letter from The Educational Testing Service saying that her score is under review because of “anomalies” in one or more sections of the exam, The Miami Times reported.
“They said there’s no way I can improve from a 900 to a high score like this,” Campbell said. “They are saying I had to either cheat or have prior knowledge to the test.”
“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 testing service wrote.
3. Campbell Denies Cheating & Says She Worked Hard to Improve
Campbell denied cheating and said she improved her score through hard work.
“Preparation for the October SAT was an important process that I took very seriously,” Campbell told The Miami Times.
“Other kids that jump from low score to high scores do not have their scores flagged, so what makes me different?” she said. “I worked so hard to make myself better, and now I am being penalized. What kind of lesson are you trying to teach me?”
Since receiving the letter, Campbell has submitted statements from a language arts instructor and a study partner.
“[Campbell] struck me as an individual who worked hard to improve her grade in my class,” said Professor Julio Estrada, who taught Campbell her junior year. “During her time in my class, I never witnessed any dishonesty or other issues with integrity coming from her.”
Honor student Temprest Toombs, who helped tutor Campbell in math twice a week, said, “I offered [Campbell] help on the math section with the use of the Princeton SAT book. Most of the [study] sessions were supervised by my mom
4. Testing Company Says Results Are Under Review
“We are writing to you because based on a preliminary review, there appears to be substantial evidence that your scores … are invalid,” the letter from the testing company told Campbell. “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.”
Educational Testing Services told CBS News that they do not cancel scores based solely on point improvements. The organization said that other factors, which they would not disclose, were taken into account.
Zach Goldberg, a spokesman for The College Board which conducts the SAT, told CNN that “scores may be flagged for a number of reasons, including testing sheets having similar answers or an incident occurring at the testing site.”
Goldberg did not say if any other tests were flagged but said the letter to Campbell “never references score gains as a reason for her scores being under review.”
“At the end of the score validity process, we will only cancel scores if we are confident that there is substantial evidence to do so,” Goldberg said. “We never cancel scores on score gains alone.”
5. Campbell’s Attorney Threatens to Sue Over Invalidated Test After She Misses Application Deadline
Campbell is being represented by prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, a graduate of Florida State University.
Crump has demanded that The College Board validate Campbell’s score in time for her to be accepted to Florida State.
“Instead of celebrating her and celebrating her achievement, they are trying to assassinate her character, and we won’t stand for that,” he said, according to CNN.
“We intend to fight for the legitimacy of Kamilah’s test scores,” he said.
The superintendent of the Miami-Dade school district has also called on The College Board to quickly review the sore, calling the situation “disturbing.”
“Although this is a test administered by a private entity, and not M-DCPS, we feel a moral obligation to intervene,” Daisy Gonzalez-Diego said.