Anna Kelly Discovers a Flaw with the December SAT


Senior Anna Kelly contacted the College Board after she found a flaw in the December SAT

Kelly Granatino, Editor-in-Chief

According to The Princeton Review, the SAT is defined as “a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test created and administered by the College Board.” But in reality, it’s is not that simple: For most college-bound high schoolers, the SAT remains a prominent part of the college admissions process. 

Scituate High School senior Anna Kelly, who is regarded by her peers as a dedicated, high-achieving student, has taken the SAT three times. During her most recent experience taking the SAT, on Saturday, December 3rd, Kelly took umbrage with one question in the “Writing and Language” section, otherwise known as the “grammar” section of the test. 

After completing the December exam, Kelly immediately began researching the question, which regarded the replacement of the word “provoked”—to either stay the same or change to “excited” in the context of “provoking an agricultural revolution.” After speaking with her friends and teachers and conducting further research, Kelly crafted an email to the College Board: “After much deliberation during and after the test, it seems as if both answers make sense in context.” In her email, Kelly provided multiple examples of the words being used in different contexts where they were both correct.

Within a few days, the College Board responded to Kelly’s email. Thanking her for the time and effort she dedicated to the question, the College Board said they reviewed the question with “content specialists in the subject matter measured by the question.” This review confirmed Kelly’s assertion that it “contains content ambiguities that call into question the intended key.” The College Board then removed this question from the test takers’ SAT scores.

Flaws on the SAT are few and far between–it takes someone with advanced knowledge and skill to catch one. In doing so, Kelly proved her intelligence and mastery in the field of writing and language.