Most high school students hope to take the ACT once and get it over with.
But for 440 students at a North Carolina high school, that’s impossible.
Their school lost the test’s answer sheets for the entire rising senior class — that’s everyone who took the ACT on February 20 and March 13.
The answers are just, well, gone.
“It was human error,” Moore County Schools spokeswoman Catherine Murphy told CNN. “The actual answer sheets were never shipped back to ACT.” The school, which is in Southern Pines, North Carolina, has no record of a shipment and administrators “have no idea” where the answer sheets are, Murphy said.
Students have to retake the test
The school alerted all parents and students who were affected by the loss on Tuesday.
“I was very angry and I still am, just because we worked so hard and studied hard and to be told it was all for nothing,” one of the students Lindsay Douglass, 17, said.
“It’s really disappointing. The students are having to pay for the adults’ mistakes.”
The school district and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction will retest the affected students when they return to school in the fall at no cost, Murphy said.
The fall scores should return in time for students to apply early decision to colleges if they wish to do so.
How they discovered the error
The school was alerted to the problem around late May.
“We started to receive inquiries from parents about their children’s score, so we reached out to ACT about May 20,” Murphy said. “Over the weekend of June 8, it was confirmed that ACT had never received the answer sheets.”
ACT declined to comment.
Murphy said “there has been action taken at a personnel level” but declined to provide additional details.
“The district has begun an effort to re-evaluate security, processes and protocols for the administration of non-EOC/EOG tests including the ACT. Additionally, Pinecrest High School has developed a plan of action to ensure the fidelity of testing moving forward,” Pinecrest High School Principal Stefanie Phillips wrote in a statement. “I deeply regret the situation and apologize to the entire rising senior class.”
Most colleges require applicants to submit a standardized test score for admission, whether it be the ACT or SAT.
The ACT is administered seven times a year and takes about 3.5-hours to finish. It consists of four multiple-choice tests on English, math, reading and science, as well as an optional writing test.