Students taking the SAT and ACT exams this fall will face tighter security and scrutiny, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced Tuesday. The new standards were revealed in the wake of a cheating scandal involving students and graduates of , including Great Neck and Roslyn.
"Those who try to cheat will be caught," Rice said, standing with executives from the College Board and ACT. "A fake ID simply won't work to game the system anymore."
A Nassau DA investigation led to the arrest of 20 Nassau County teenagers in November, including of Great Neck.
“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," Rice said. “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."
The new measures put the onus on high school students, the College Board and ACT, and high schools themselves to ensure there is no cheating. In addition, there will be legislative fixes to close up any further loopholes, Rice said.
The safegurads come at no additional fee to the student, Jon Erickson, president of ACT Education said.
Rice worked with the College Board and the ACT to develop the following reforms.
- All test registrants will be required to upload a photograph of themselves when they register for the SAT or ACT. Students will be able to upload scanned photos, webcam photos, or photos from a smartphone. The photograph will be printed on their admission ticket, the test site roster, checked against the photo ID they provide at the test center, and the photo will accompany students’ scores as they are reported to high schools and colleges.
- Uploaded photos will be retained in a database available to high school and college admissions officials.
- All test registrants will be required to identify their high school during registration. This will ensure that high school administrators receive students’ scores as well as their uploaded photo. This back-end check will provide another opportunity for cheaters to be caught.
- All test registrants will provide their date of birth and gender, which will be printed on the test site roster.
- Standby test registration in its current form will be eliminated. All test-takers will be required to completely register, with a photo, and arrive at the designated test center with a proper admission ticket and photo ID. Students not appearing on the roster or who have an insufficient ID or admission ticket will not be allowed to sit for the exam.
- Students will certify their identity in writing at the test center, and acknowledge the possibility of a criminal referral and prosecution for engaging in criminal impersonation.
- Proctors will check students’ identification more frequently at test centers. IDs will be checked upon entry to the test center, re-entry to the test room after breaks, and upon collection of answer sheets.
- Testing companies will provide a mechanism during registration for parents to receive test-related communications.
- Testing companies may conduct “spot checks” with enhanced security at randomly selected locations, or where cheating is suspected.
- Proctors will receive additional training to help them identify cheaters, and high school and college officials will receive more information about reporting to testing companies about suspected cheating .
Measures have been taken to ensure that students without computer access would be able to mail in a photo that testing agencies can then scan in; the student would then receive the admission ticket by mail.
The measures take effect in September 2012, Rice said.