New SAT Security Changes After N.Y. Cheating Ring

The reforms begin in the fall and include uploading a photo during registration.

March 27, 2012, 7:25 AM

March 27, 2012 — -- After last year's scandal on New York's Long Island that involved high school students paying others to take the SAT for them, the College Board announced security changes today.

"We are confident that the security enhancements announced today will help maintain an honest and fair testing environment for the millions of students who take the SAT each year as part of the college admission process," said Kathryn Juric, vice president of the College Board for the SAT Program.

"These reforms close a gaping hole in standardized test security that allowed students to cheat and steal admissions offers and scholarship money from kids who played by the rules," said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. "Millions of college-bound students who take the SAT and ACT each year should have renewed confidence that honest applicants will not take a back seat to cheaters, and that those who cheat will be caught."

In September, an alleged SAT cheating ring was uncovered on Long Island and seven students were arrested. Prosecutors said that at least six high school students had paid collegiate Sam Eshaghoff thousands of dollars to take the test for them. But by November, the college entrance exam cheating scandal had grown, with 12 more students facing felony charges.

A total of 20 teens were arrested for either impersonating someone and taking the test or paying someone to take it for them, Rice said.

Last year, the College Board said that the agency and the Educational Testing Services would review its security enhancements. ETS also hired a firm led by former FBI director Louis Freeh to determine whether its security procedures were deficient.

The College Board's reforms, which will take effect in the fall, include test-takers either uploading a picture of themselves during registration or mailing an image to the testing agency and proctors more frequently checking IDs. The photos submitted by the students will be printed on their admission ticket and test center will have them. The uploaded photos would be retained in a database and made available to high school and college admissions officials.

The rival ACT is also changing its security measures.

"ACT is proud to announce new safeguards that will further ensure the integrity of the testing process and meet students in the tech-savvy world they live in today," said Jon Erickson, president of ACT Education. "Under our revised test security protocols, test security will be enhanced by the latest Web and photography technology, while being reinforced by the people who know the students best -- the teachers and counselors at their high schools."

According to the College Board website, more than 2 million students take the test each year. Last year, 138 scores were canceled after ETS found that students had cheated on their exams.

To learn about other changes and get additional information, check out ACT and the College Board.

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