A lawsuit over 641 invalidated Mills High School Advanced Placement test scores was voluntarily withdrawn by the San Mateo Union High School District and a parent group yesterday, according to the district.
The voluntary withdrawal of the lawsuit by the district, along with the Mills Viking Parent Group, removes any legal obstacles to individual students or parents who may wish to prosecute their own claims against the College Board and its test administrators Educational Testing Service, according to a district press release. This comes on the heels of the U.S. District Court’s denial of a temporary restraining order meant to return AP test scores from the College Board in early September.
“The district initiated the lawsuit, along with the Mills Viking Parent Group, to immediately reverse the AP test invalidation decision,” the release stated. “The district contended that the College Board/ETS decision for Mills is inconsistent with how the College Board/ETS dealt with other similar situations. ... The district believed the indiscriminate invalidation of AP test scores unfairly penalized students who had studied long and hard to pass AP tests and receive college credit. In those other cases, at least some of the test scores were released on a selective basis to provide fairness to groups of innocent students. In those cases, the students who were not accused of cheating and for whom there was no proof of an unfair advantage were provided their test results.”
In seeking the same outcome for Mills students, the district said the invalidation unfairly penalized students, “who had studied long and hard to pass AP tests and receive college credits,” according to the release.
On July 17, the district reported that ETS invalidated tests in 11 AP subjects taken by 286 students this past May because of seating irregularities.
The suit, originally filed in San Mateo County Superior Court on Aug. 5 by Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, the firm representing the district, stated there is no evidence of misconduct by the students and no evidence that the seating irregularities materially affected the spring test scores. The case moved from San Mateo County Superior Court to federal court because College Board and ETS feared bias against New York corporations in a California court of law.
A representative from ETS has said a thorough investigation was initiated in response to information voluntarily provided by a Mills student who complained school personnel failed to comply with specific seating guidelines. The representative also said both ETS and the College Board understood the frustration and offered retests.