Exclusive: ACT cancels test scores in Asia after leak of essay question

Exclusive: ACT cancels test scores in Asia after leak of essay question

LONDON (Reuters) – Students in Asia have been notified that their scores from the writing section of last month’s ACT college-entrance exam are now being canceled, within the latest example of how standardized test makers are struggling to contain a worldwide epidemic of cheating.

The incident comes just months after ACT Inc, the Iowa-based nonprofit that operates the test, was obligated to cancel its exam for all takers in South Korea and Hong Kong. That incident, in June, marked the first time the high-stakes exam was canceled for an entire country.

ACT spokesman Ed Colby declined to say just how many students were impacted by the October score cancellations, which he said test that is involved in Asia and Oceania. He described the incident because of “a compromise when you look at the testing process” and said the affected students “amounted to simply a portion that is small of in the region.”

Affected students when it comes to October score cancellation received a message from ACT that stated: “Unfortunately, events occurred which compromised the testing process for the writing portion of the test event. As a total result, you simply will not receive a score for the writing test response/essay. Your multiple choice ACT tests—English, mathematics, reading, and science tests—WILL be scored.”

The message added that ACT will issue each learning student a $16 refund.

The ACT writing section is nominally voluntary, but many colleges require students to go on it to gauge an applicant’s writing and reasoning abilities.

The latest security incident is “a frustrating and complicated situation for our students,” said Kristin J. Dreazen, president of this international affiliate associated with the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

A single day ahead of the ACT was administered on Oct. 22, Reuters obtained a copy of an ACT writing test about the subject “Fame” that an Asian source said had leaked and was to be given the day that is next. Test administrators in Asia were instructed shortly ahead of the test to substitute a essay that is different than the the one that originally had shipped. Colby declined to touch upon the test Reuters obtained.

Reuters reported in July that ACT’s test security unit repeatedly had recommended tightening security overseas ahead of the June breach, but that ACT executives had rejected the recommendations. The company later laid off the head for the unit. ACT’s chief executive, Marten Roorda, has declined to be interviewed.

ACT recently began shipping some of its test booklets and answer sheets in lock boxes to shield against leaks. But the usage of lock boxes ‘s still not universal, according to test administrators.

In July, Reuters also detailed widespread cheating in the ACT-owned assessment Certificate program that is global. The program, that provides college preparatory courses, has about 5,000 students and operates in about 200 centers, mostly in Asia. reut.rs/2akY3uf

Seven students who attended three different GAC centers in China described how school officials and proctors were and ignored sometimes complicit in cheating in the ACT. Eight teachers or administrators who possess worked at seven different Chinese GAC http://www.evolutionwriters.biz/ centers also described cheating in program courses.

ACT’s chief rival, the latest York-based College Board, which administers the SAT, has been struggling with its own security problems. The College Board recently notified an undisclosed quantity of test-takers in Egypt that their scores were being canceled for the October test.

College Board spokesman Zach Goldberg said the cancellations were “based on evidence that a test preparation organization illegally obtained and shared the test content prior to the administration.” He declined to elaborate.

Reuters also reported in August that a major breach exposed hundreds of unpublished questions for upcoming SAT exams. A College Board spokeswoman said the company was investigating what she termed “a serious criminal matter.”

The SAT and ACT are used by large number of U.S. colleges to help pick from among an incredible number of student applicants.