The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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April 21, 2024

Administrators cancel PSAT due to technical issues with College Board website

A surge in traffic between 7:45 and 9:15 a.m. on Bluebook, the app used to administer College Board tests, caused some schools across the country to “delay or be unable to begin testing,” College Board officials wrote.
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A surge in traffic between 7:45 and 9:15 a.m. on Bluebook, the app used to administer College Board tests, caused some schools across the country to “delay or be unable to begin testing,” College Board officials wrote.

Whitman administrators suspended the administration of the PSAT yesterday after encountering technical issues with the College Board website.

The College Board released a statement yesterday summarizing the issue and apologizing for the disruption. A surge in traffic between 7:45 and 9:15 a.m. on Bluebook, the app used to administer College Board tests, caused some schools across the country to “delay or be unable to begin testing,” College Board officials wrote. Despite many schools facing technical issues, over 1.2 million students tested yesterday.

Administrators at Whitman identified the issue shortly after students received their testing materials and announced at approximately 9:30 a.m. that testing would be suspended. The administration updated the bell schedule, adding a “wellness period” for the remainder of testing time with several recreational activities open for students.

The administration has not yet announced when students will make up the exam. Schools must administer the PSAT between October 2 and October 31.

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Junior Andrea Williams first realized there was a problem when students in her testing room had trouble logging on and teachers were seeking help from each other. Williams was relieved the test was suspended because she had been sitting in the classroom waiting for the problem to be resolved for over an hour.

“We were already waiting for so long,” Williams said. “If we had taken the test it would have either gone into lunch or our other periods, and I didn’t want that.”

Sophomores and juniors typically take the PSAT, and juniors can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program. This is the first year that the PSAT was administered digitally, as part of the College Board’s transition from paper to digital testing. Last May, Whitman students reported difficulties with several digital AP exams.

Other high schools in the county, such as Bethesda-Chevy Chase (B-CC), faced similar technical difficulties but ultimately were able to administer the test. B-CC junior Evelyn Trackman said many students had to wait over an hour to access the College Board website but were eventually able to take the test.

Ninth Grade Administrator Jena Mejia explained that some MCPS schools were able to access the College Board’s testing toolkit, a collection of online resources which testing staff use to administer the PSAT. Proctors at Whitman could not access the toolkit, she said.

“The schools that did test were able to access the testing toolkit, and what we are noticing is that those were smaller schools or schools that did not have as many students registered to test that day,” Mejia said. “As a county, MCPS is looking at the platforms that we use when we do digital testing to make sure that this doesn’t happen again because it affected a large part of our county.”

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