How UPS Caused Texas High School Students To Have To Retake Their SATs

Seniors at El Paso High School in Texas may have to retake their SATs after they flew out of the back of a UPS truck while in transit to be scored.

By Kari Apted | Published

Students at Texas’ El Paso High School may have to retake their SATs after a UPS mishap. For reasons UPS has failed to specify, the students’ exam scoring sheets flew out of one of their delivery trucks. The tests were taken on October 27 and all but 55 of the tests have been recovered.

Lisa Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) told local NBC news affiliate KTSM that the school was working to resolve the situation. “El Paso ISD is working closely with the College Board to determine a remedy for the El Paso High School students whose SAT exams were lost in transit after they were securely submitted to UPS,” she said. Students will be relieved to hear that they will be able to retake an exam at no cost, but they will have to take the ACT instead.

The College Board, a not-for-profit organization that administers the SAT, issued a statement regarding the loss of the important exams. “Occasionally test materials are lost in transit. When such instances occur, we work with the school to ensure that students are able to retest as soon as possible. We are currently working with El Paso High School to provide options for the impacted students.”

Still, as anyone who has taken a standardized college entrance exam can attest, preparing for and taking the exam is a stressful event. KTSM spoke to students who were affected by the loss of their test sheets. Not only were they concerned about having to retake their college entrance exam, but they also had privacy concerns as well.

“On the test score sheets, we have all of our information and identification on the score — our location where we live, our address, our date of birth, all of our information. And it stinks because our identity is out there right now. Some people could have picked up some flyers,” said student body president, Zyenna Martinez.

Senior class vice president Santiago Gonzalez seemed surprised to hear that the stories circulating the campus were valid. “Today, they called a meeting for the senior class and they kind of told us, ‘Hey, guys, the rumors are true. The SAT scores were compromised. They flew out of the UPS bus,” he said.

Other students told the local news affiliate that they had actually witnessed documents flying out of the UPS truck. Of course, the students had no idea the papers were their SAT test scoring sheets. An El Paso High School senior named Freddy Chavez even captured video of the papers sailing through the air.

Another student, Raina Porras, was riding in the car with her mother when they saw the papers scattered over Mesa Street. Porras’ mom noticed that the papers had Scantron bubbles, the multiple choice answer circles students pencil in so their tests can be easily scanned. They were surprised to learn later that the test sheets were from Raina’s school.

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UPS was quick to apologize for the incident and said that their employees were still working to recover the missing test sheets. “We have apologized to the school and extend our apologies to the students. Our employees are working to recover as many tests as possible, and we will work with the school to resolve the situation,” UPS said in a statement.

UPS also said they were investigating the driver’s actions that may have contributed to the accidental loss. They called his actions “not representative of UPS protocols and methods.” UPS has not yet explained exactly what went wrong during the delivery process.

The College Board helps over seven million students annually to prepare for college admission. The SAT and ACT are administered on behalf of the College Board by the Educational Testing Service. The SAT has made significant changes through the years, including eliminating the optional essay section on tests taken after June 2021.

Taking the SAT is a three-hour process and students have several opportunities to take it throughout the academic year. Some colleges and universities no longer require the SAT or ACT as part of their undergrad application process, but others still view the exams as a valid way of assessing a student’s readiness for college-level work. In 2015, the College Board partnered with Kahn Academy to provide free SAT preparation tools.