College Board Changes SAT and ACT Exam Security Policies

The College Board enacted new security measures for its SAT and ACT tests on Wednesday in the wake of a scandal in which dozens of Long Island students were accused of cheating on the SAT exam last November. The students were accused of accepting payment, reportedly up to $3,500, or paying others to take the exams between 2008 and 2011, according to The New York Times. As such, the new measures include requiring a student to provide photo identification when they register for the test.

Officials will check the photo when the student arrives on the testing day, a measure that is meant to ensure that the proper student is taking the exam.

"The College Board is steadfastly committed to ensuring the validity and security of the SAT and protecting the integrity of the test administration process," a College Board press release read. "By implementing these changes, the College Board and ETS can 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."

Students can submit their photo either online or by mail with their registration packet. When they arrive at the testing center, they must have photo identification or they will not be allowed to take the exam. Test-takers may also need to show their photo when they enter the test room, upon reentry to the room after a break, and upon collection of their answer sheet. Testing officials will have access to a database of photos for each student registered, according to the College Board press release.

In addition, students will need to sign a certification statement that says they agree that all information provided is accurate, that they understand the test security and fairness policies, and that impersonation could lead to prosecution. Finally, students who want to switch their testing center from the one designated on the registration form must request to do so in advance, as same-day requests will no longer be permitted. These new security measures will be implemented in the 2012-2013 school year.

Most school officials are on board with the new changes, while others had concerns. Henry L. Grishman, superintendent of Jericho Public Schools in Long Island, told the NY Times he was in favor of the new measures. “We will get Johnny Jones’s SAT scores with a picture,” Grishman said. “That will add security to the process.”

Yet, others were concerned about the fact that a student’s photo would be accessible to colleges along with the test scores. “I do fear that it could be a quick and easy way to make decisions based on looks. With a picture there, I think it opens a Pandora’s box. I see it as a way of using race in admissions," Terry Giffen, Taft School director of college counseling, told the NY Times.

To see the full list of changes the College Board is making to the SAT and ACT test-taking process, click here.

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