Too Cold to Concentrate? Complaints About PSAT Test

Wichita Falls Independent School District is sending apologies to the parents of 258 students. 

The issue is over the PSAT college entrance exam that Wichita Falls High School students took Wednesday in the  Kay Yeager Coliseum Hockey Arena. Students complained they were so cold it became a huge distraction. The PSAT exam is only allowed to be taken once a year.

Newschannel 6 crews went to the ISD for answers and found out the coliseum was not supposed to be the testing facility.

Wichita Falls High School Principal Kevin Shipley says he is deeply sorry to all his students who took the exam at the coliseum on Wednesday. He says there were some  miscommunications between staff and his students should not pay the price for it.

MPEC Coliseum home to the Wildcats and an arena well suited for rough hockey, but some parents are asking why this place was chosen for their children to take the PSAT exam.     

Principal Shipley comments, "The question was asked how is this going to be appropriate because it is a cold arena. They assured us that temperature wise it might be a little cooler then other places that would be an appropriate testing environment. They wouldn't be freezing and it wouldn't be a distraction to the students and obviously once we got there, that wasn't the case."
Principal Shipley says for the past three years students have tested at the MPEC but tested in the main building. Since that venue was already booked MPEC officials suggested for the  Agriculture Barn to be used.

Principal Shipley says in September his testing coordinator was contacted by MPEC officials saying the Agriculture Barn would not be an appropriate testing room for the 608 students Wichita Falls and Rider students combined and suggested the hockey coliseum.

But three days before the exam the two high schools were separated leaving only Wichita Falls students in the arena. Principal Shipley says, "Wednesday morning they got out there it had rained heavily Tuesday night and there was a lot of moisture in the air. They got out there Wednesday and there was condensation on the floor and the kids book bags got wet."

Principal Shipley says they did warn students before the exam what the conditions would be like over a PA announcement. Some parents still feel it was the wrong choice.

Stephanie Armel one concerned parent says, "How can a child prepare for something they have not experienced before. They haven't been to the area except maybe during a hockey game and during that it is freezing cold."

Newschannel 6 reached out to MPEC officials to find out how cold that hockey arena gets or what type of flooring was put down on testing day. We were told their Executive Director was out of the office until Tuesday and that we were not allowed in the facility.

Wichita Falls ISD officials say as of Friday the college board is considering the idea of letting the students retake the PSAT exam. If they are not allowed to retake them these students could potentially miss out on scholarships. If a student scores well on the PSAT there is a chance of becoming a National Merit Scholar.

If you are a parent and may want to contact the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to petition a grievance you can reach them at 866-433-7728. 

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6