College Board, ETS react to SAT scandal
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The services that administer college entrance exams said they would consider recommendations from Sen. Charles Schumer and other officials seeking an overhaul of the way exams are given as a cheating scandal rocks Long Island.
"The College Board and ETS...would welcome the opportunity to speak with the senator to discuss his specific recommendations," Kathleen Fineout Steinberg, a College Board spokeswoman, said in a statement Tuesday.
With 20 people arrested in the scandal, Schumer (D-N.Y.) Tuesday urged regulations to make the tests more secure. In a letter to test administrators Educational Testing Service, the College Board and ACT Inc., he said it should be mandatory to report suspected cheating, and students should take the exam in their home district when possible, to reduce the opportunity to hire a person to take the test for them.
Test administrators should work with education officials to recruit local school workers as proctors, since they would be more likely to recognize students taking tests, and there should be a photo identification system for test-takers, he said.
"Cheating is wrong and hurts those who play by the rules," he said in a statement. "The College Board and Educational Testing Service have a responsibility, and obligation, to immediately overhaul its oversight of these exams to protect the integrity of the test and those students who honestly take the exam."
Schumer released the letter a day after two more people surrendered in the expanding probe into cheating on college admission tests at North Shore schools.
Officials with ETS, the Princeton, N.J.-based company that administers the SAT for the College Board, said they have stepped up security, and have hired a consulting group run by former FBI director Louis Freeh to review security protocols.
They declined to discuss specifics of security steps, saying "to do so would minimize their effectiveness." They said thousands of test-site supervisors have completed an online course intended to thwart cheaters.
"The College Board will be responding to Sen. Schumer with a letter confirming that we will consider his recommended changes -- as well as any recommended changes that result from our ongoing dialogue with the office of Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice -- as part of the overall review of SAT security policies and procedures," said Fineout Steinberg.
Representatives of the ACT said they shared the senator's concerns and a task force will consider his recommendations.
"ACT is committed to providing students a level playing field to demonstrate their independent academic achievement, and we review preventive measures on an ongoing basis," said Scott Gomer, media relations director for ACT Inc.
Rice said her office has looked at as many as 40 possible cheaters, but can charge only a fraction for several reasons.
The district attorney's office also has convened a special grand jury, sources close to the probe have confirmed. That probe could result in criminal indictments, a report or recommendations on the panel's findings, sources and experts said.
With William Murphy