PSATs quarantined

Dec. 20, 2001, midnight | By Liam Bowen | 19 years, 1 month ago

Anthrax scare keeps tests unscored

Blair's Preliminary SAT (PSAT) scantron response sheets have been quarantined since October due to an anthrax scare, leaving students without their results and at risk of losing scholarship opportunities.

Shortly after the Oct 16 test date, Blair mailed the scantrons to Princeton, New Jersey where they were to be scored by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). When anthrax was found at the Princeton postal facility later that month, however, much of the mail there was quarantined, including the tests. They have yet to be released. Blair is one of 1,200 schools nationwide whose students' PSAT scores have been delayed.

Although the tests have been stuck in Princeton for two months, Blair was not notified until Dec 10.

Time is running out for students who took the test, as their results determine their prospects for National Merit scholarships as well as their entry into the Maryland Distinguished Scholars Program (MDSP). If the tests are not graded by Jan 31, ETS will be forced to come up with a back-up plan. Blair has no indication as to what this plan might be. "We are at the mercy of ETS," said career center resource teacher Sharon Williams. "And that is not a good place to be."

Guidance counselor Barbara Drumm feels that the National Merit Scholarship competition, which named 42 Blair seniors semifinalists this year, will not be affected by the quarantine since ETS administers the program.

According to Drumm, participation in the MDSP could prove more difficult. Students qualify for the program based in part on their PSAT scores. The deadline to submit scores is Jan 26. Drumm has been in contact with the MDSP but has not heard whether it plans to change its deadline.

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Liam Bowen. Liam Bowen has loved sports, baseball in particular, since he saw Jeff Ballard pitch for the Orioles in the late-80s. When he isn't on the beat, Bowen ties up his daytimes with his misguided and entirely unrealistic dream to play some sort of advanced baseball … More »

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