SAT Cheating Ring Forces Board to Rethink Security

Oct 25, 2011 5:41pm

A cheating scandal uncovered last month in Great Neck, N.Y., may affect how millions of how high school students around the country take the SAT, as the board that administers the test has hired a former FBI director to advise on enhanced security measures.

“It’s a problem,” said state Sen. Kenneth LaValle, who convened a hearing today on Long Island about standardized test security procedures. “This is not just in Great Neck. It’s across the board. It’s a national issue.”

The issue is impersonation — students hiring a ringer to take the test for them.  Seven current or former Great Neck North High School students were arrested last month, allegedly part of a cheating ring that paid a college student $2,500 to impersonate the other six and take the SAT for them.

“Colleges look for the best and brightest students, yet these six defendants tried to cheat the system and may have kept honest and qualified students from getting into their dream school,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

Executives from the College Board said today they are considering “potential enhancements” to safeguard future tests.  They include changes in the types, forms, number and qualification of acceptable identification; changes to requirements for collection of identifying information at the time of registration and on test day; additional test-day security requirements, including the use of digital photography.

“We are determined to provide the most rigorous test security available while not discouraging a single deserving student from pursuing his or her college aspirations,” College Board president Gaston Caperton said.

New York state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky told Caperton any test security changes need to come at his expense.

“I am very troubled by any improvements that you make where costs are passed along to the student taking the test.  To me that would be outrageous,” she said.

The College Board has hired Freeh Group International Solutions, a consulting firm run by former FBI director Louis Freeh.

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