Testing Troubles

An overview of the recent delay in Preliminary SAT scores


In Mid-September, Fairfax announced that 238 of their students from 18 Fairfax County Public Schools were among the semifinalists named by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for 2023. As a highly academically competitive school district, however, the Fairfax school district failed to promptly send out notifications for the other students who had been recognized as “commended students” by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 


This error has prompted backlash on a state level as well. Attorney General Jason Miyares announced that the entire school system will be subject to a review that began last week with a focus on Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ), citing that these delays in notifying students of their commendations may fall under civil rights violations. The school has also been under fire for changing its admissions policies that people have alleged are discriminatory towards Asian-American students, with the lawsuit currently pending in a federal appeals court. 


The actions of these schools have also caused them to be accused of withholding scores purposefully. Students, who have been most heavily impacted by this, cite that no matter the reason, they were not properly informed. 


“It’s a whole bunch of lack of information around this situation,” Langley senior Keya Umesh said. “I feel like it might have been an honest mistake or it might have been an active withholding of information. If it was an active withholding of information, I think there definitely needs to be at least policies put in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”


However, despite the controversy this delay has caused, many students have differing opinions about it. While many do recognize the potential effect it has had on some student applications, some students, like Umesh, do not think it has been too disastrous.


“I don’t think it affected me too much because I wasn’t really aware of the awards you could get for the PSAT,” Umesh said. “It was mostly just a miscommunication in information that I had…I wasn’t sure what it would do…that lack of information made it seem like I wasn’t missing out on much.” 


However, many students allege that’s not to say these effects shouldn’t be ignored. While they claim that it may have not completely ruined applications, it did rob students of the chance to show a more detailed view of their academic abilities and skill sets to colleges they were applying to. 


“I think it definitely puts a little bit of a dent in a student’s applications by not being able to display their best self possible,” Umesh said. “…I think there should be some sort of policy in place [for the PSAT and the SAT] so students are able to receive their scores or at least have an indication about when they should know their scores so that they are able to receive these awards.” 

Administration has declined to comment on the delay of scores