College Board Recycled Compromised SATs

Exams keep falling into the hands of 'bad actors'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2016 3:22 AM CDT
College Board Recycled Compromised SATs
A student looks at questions during a test-preparation class at Holton-Arms School.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The College Board has been trying to clamp down on SAT cheating worldwide, but "cram schools" in East Asia are running rings around it, throwing thousands of exam scores into doubt, reports Reuters. The board, a nonprofit organization that owns and develops the standardized test, routinely recycles SAT test material from the US for overseas tests, making it very easy for test-preparation companies in Asia to give students questions likely to appear on the test. In some cases, the cram schools were able to obtain versions of the actual exam booklets—but the board continued to use material it knew had been compromised and was circulating widely in Asia.

Earlier this year, the board canceled testing at 45 centers in China over cheating fears. It did the same in South Korea in 2013. "We're working against cartel-like companies in China and other countries that will stop at nothing to enrich themselves," says College Board exec John McGrath. "These bad actors will continue to lie, cheat, and steal to the detriment of students who work hard and play by the rules." New security measures and a redesigned test given to US students on March 5 were supposed to thwart cheating—but within a couple of weeks, tipsters were able to show Reuters copies of the exam booklet, and online chatter made test clues as easy to find online as Game of Thrones spoilers. (The author of Freakonomics used an algorithm to bust cheaters.)

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