College entrance exams to get security upgrade

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Students taking college entrance exams this fall will have to adhere to tighter security following recent allegations of widespread cheating at a number of high schools on New York's Long Island, a prosecutor and testing officials announced Tuesday.

Students will have to have to submit photo IDs with their applications, CBS News said. It is one of a number of initiatives following the arrest of 20 current or former high school students accused in a cheating scheme.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said some of the students were paid as much as $3,500 to stand in for other students on the SAT exam.

She said students 50 students were likely involved in the scheme, but she only had evidence to arrest 20.

Rice said she learned one male student allegedly stood in for a female on one occasion. She said students have easy access to phony identification cards, making it difficult for administrators at testing sites to determine if a student is actually who he or she claims to be.

"These reforms close a gaping hole in standardized test security that allows students to cheat and steal admissions offers and scholarship money from kids who play by the rules," Rice said.

New testing requirements include making students upload a photograph of themselves when registering for the ACT or SAT, the report said. Those unable to upload a photo will be permitted to mail one, which will be scanned by the testing agency.

Other changes include checking student IDs when students enter a test site or re-enter the test room after breaks and when the answer sheets are collected, CBS News said.

Test-takers will also have to identify their high school, which will now receive their scores, the New York Times said. Previously, it was up to students to decide whether their scores were sent to their high schools, making it difficult for schools to detect suspicious scores.

The changes, Rice said, send a message to students who might consider cheating.

"They will be caught, and they will be held accountable," she said. "The old system did not ensure that."

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This page contains a single entry by tabbe019 published on March 28, 2012 10:50 AM.

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