High school students now can end the nerve-racking wait for SAT scores by getting them online a week early, but it will cost them.

Students who used the internet to register for the college-entrance exam received an eMail two weeks after the test telling them scores were available online immediately for a $13 fee. If the students waited another eight days, they could access their scores for free by mail or computer.

The exam’s New York-based owner, the College Board, said the service is one more way to lessen the anxiety for test-takers. For years, students have been able to get early test scores by phone for $13.

“This is a totally optional service that we started with the October tests,” Brian O’Reilly, executive director of the SAT program, told the New York Times. “No student needs to do this.”

Critics say the service makes money off students’ anxieties.

“[Students] want to know what their scores are, and they want to know them quickly to determine whether they should take [the test] again. It’s using that anxiety as a profit center,” said Bob Schaeffer, public education director for the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.

O’Reilly said the fees are used to design the College Board web site. But Schaeffer said he doubts the service costs the College Board that much to offer.

“That’s the same excuse they use for every price increase,” Schaeffer said. “And until they make their books public, no one can tell.”

Links:

College Board
http://www.collegeboard.com

National Center for Fair & Open Testing
http://www.fairtest.org