Students taking the SAT and ACTs this weekend nationwide face stricter registration requirements implemented to thwart cheating on the all-important exams.
The new rules result from a cheating scandal last year in which five former Nassau County students impersonated test-takers in return for up to $3,600 in cash. The scam was exposed by Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office, who also helped craft the more stringent protocol for those taking the exams.
How a student scores on the tests can dictate whether or not they are accepted into college, and which one.
“Last year, my office uncovered a widespread SAT and ACT cheating scandal in Nassau County that put a national spotlight on gaping holes in standardized test security,” Rice said in a statement Thursday announcing the security upgrades. “We worked with the College Board and ACT Inc. to bring about comprehensive test security reform to level the playing field, at no additional cost to students.
“Test administrators have implemented tough, high-tech security measures that I am confident will almost eliminate the kind of cheating we found to be so easy last year,” she continued.
Among the new measures, test-takers are required to submit or upload a photograph during the registration process that will then be printed on their admission ticket and checked against the photo ID presented at the test center. The photo will also accompany the student’s test scores as they are reported to the high schools.
Students taking the SAT or the ACT will be subject to ID checks throughout the exam, including upon their entry into the test center and the individual test room, upon re-entry to the test room after breaks, and upon collection of their answer sheet. Additionally, college hopefuls can no longer change their testing venue on the day of the exam and day-of test registration has been eliminated.
Investigators arrested five former high school students last year for accepting payments to impersonate current students and take the test for them. Fifteen students who paid to have their tests taken were also charged in that scheme.
All but two of the Nassau test fraud cases have been resolved, with the remainder, including Samuel Eshaghoff, awaiting sentencing. The defendants have been or will be adjudicated as youthful offenders and their files will be sealed in all but one case.
The new SAT upgrades take effect on Saturday, Oct. 6 and the ACT security improvements were implemented on Sept. 8, with full photo-upload capability to be phased in.
Additional details regarding the security measures for the SAT can be found at collegeboard.org, and ACT security details are available online at actstudent.org.