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ACT makeup scores fast-tracked for students

Chaminade High School senior Cameron Sherry, center, in

Chaminade High School senior Cameron Sherry, center, in his Glen Cove home with his parents, RoseMarie and Jerry Sherry, on Dec. 29, 2016. He is among 53 students whose ACT answer sheets went missing after they took the college admissions test at Roslyn High School on Oct. 22. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Exam scores were fast-tracked for students who took a makeup ACT at Roslyn High School in January — nearly three months after their answer sheets from the October test went missing — with some results delivered in about a week rather than the usual two to eight weeks, officials with the Iowa City testing service said.

ACT still is working to reimburse the $42.50 fee for the Oct. 22 test after a “technical error” delayed payments to the 53 affected students, officials said this week.

The Jan. 14 makeup exam was offered for free, but not all of the 53 students whose answer sheets were lost opted to take it. Those who did had 16 days to prepare for the makeup from the time that ACT announced it would be administered.

For the subset of students who took the test again — especially college-bound seniors — there is the lingering question: Did I do better in October?

“There’s a feeling that you’ll never know,” said Larry Cohen, whose daughter, a senior at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, took the makeup test. “She’s not going to dwell on that.”

Lesley Fiori, of Port Washington, said her daughter Lauren, 17, a senior at Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset, also took the makeup. “There was no prep time,” she said.

ACT officials, who declined to say how many of the 53 took the makeup, said some students who sat for the January test received their results about a week later. On Jan. 20, officials called those students whose score information “was not yet available in their student accounts to relay their scores,” ACT spokeswoman Tarah DeSousa said. By Jan. 23, “all scores from the retest were available in the student accounts,” she said.

Paul Weeks, ACT’s senior vice president of client relations, said the calls were made because “they already had been inconvenienced and waited so long.”

High school seniors often take the ACT in October to be assured of receiving scores well ahead of colleges’ application deadlines, many of which are Jan. 1 or early in that month. Students often have taken the test before and sit for it in the fall in the hope of raising their score.

The top composite score on the ACT is 36. It has 215 multiple-choice questions in English, mathematics, reading and science, and an optional writing section.

ACT officials, in response to Newsday inquiries, acknowledged on Dec. 28 that 53 students’ answer sheets from the October test given at Roslyn High were missing. A total of 258 students sat for that test; the students whose answer sheets went missing did not complete the optional writing portion.

DeSousa said the missing answer sheets, sent from the school to ACT in Iowa via FedEx, have not been recovered. Allie Addoms, a FedEx spokeswoman, said the company “understands the importance of these materials to the students and their families. We continue to work very closely with our customer on this matter.”

Earlier this week, some parents said they had not received the refund for the October test, and Newsday sent an inquiry to DeSousa.

In an email Wednesday, she wrote, “I have learned this afternoon that due to a technical error, the refunds were generated later than we had initially suggested. However, all refunds have now been processed and should be received by impacted students within the next several days. We have apologized for this unfortunate error.”

In December, some of the affected students said they were worried about how quickly the makeup exam would be scored and if the colleges to which they had applied would accept the late scores.

Cameron Sherry, 18, a senior at Chaminade High School in Mineola, did not take the makeup, which came as he was recovering from the flu.

“It didn’t make sense for me to take the test, to go through all that stress for no gain,” he said.

His mother, RoseMarie Sherry of Glen Cove, said, “When it’s so cut-throat, and they are so academically driven . . . in that caliber of a student, the point or two or three could make such a difference in either getting accepted or not getting accepted. We’ll just never know.”

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