Local Students Turned Away from SAT Test

June 2, 2013 Updated Jun 2, 2013 at 11:22 PM EDT


June 2, 2013 Updated Jun 2, 2013 at 11:22 PM EDT

Amherst, NY (WKBW) - More than a million high school registered to take the SAT's this past year across the United States.

The average score is a 1498 out of a possible 2400. High school students put a lot of time into trying to better their scores.

That's why about two dozen local high school students are upset after showing up to take their SAT exams -- only to get turned away.

"I chose the one photo that I thought would work, and I thought it met the requirements," said Allison McKenna, a Junior at Amherst Central High School.

However, McKenna was one of about 20 Amherst students in for a big surprise.

McKenna was turned away from the college admissions exam -- all because of a photo and college board policy that started in late 2012.

Before the test, all students must upload a picture of themselves online. That picture will be compared to student identification the day of the exam.

The rules: the shot must be close, showing head and shoulders only, with no obstructions, such as a glare or a shadow.

McKenna's picture was taken from a distance. However, she says "I found the only photo of me with this hair color, and the way I thought I would look on the test day."

The new rule came into effect after a 2011 Long Island cheating scandal, in which high scorers were paid big bucks to take the SAT's for struggling students using fake identification.

However, McKenna says the proctor for this exam works at her school, knows her on a first name basis, and says "hi" to her almost everyday.

"I was kind of in shock I guess, because I was really banking on taking the test. I was ready, I had studied, and I'd started to form my plans on top of taking the test that day," the student says.

There is a $50 registration fee to take the SAT exam. It is still unclear if the students will be reimbursed.

The Amherst School District will be addressing these concerns on Monday.