Cheating probe delays SAT scores in China

Updated: 2014-10-30 05:54

By NIU YUE in NEW YORK(China Daily USA)

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Students living in China and the Republic of Korea are having their October SAT scores delayed due to a cheating investigation, which could disrupt their college applications.

"Based on specific, reliable information, we have placed the scores of all students who are current residents of [the Republic of] Korea or China and sat for the Oct 11 international administration of the SAT on hold while we conduct an administrative review," said Tom Ewing, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the College Board's test administration and security provider, in a statement to China Daily. ETS develops and administers the SAT under the supervision and sponsorship of the College Board.

Ewing declined to disclose the number of students affected, saying he was not "at liberty" to do so, and he did not respond when asked if the test scores will be ultimately invalidated, but said the College Board and ETS will "try to minimize the impact of cancellations."

ETS will use "extensive statistical analyses and investigative options" to ensure the validity of reported scores, and scores will be delivered as soon as possible, according to Ewing's statement.

Students who took the test on Oct 11 were to receive results on Oct 28. The current review could take up to four weeks, Carswell Whitehead, an ETS representative on behalf of the College Board, wrote in an email to students.

The delay could significantly impede students' applying to colleges who are seeking an early decision on admission.

The deadline for EA and ED for most US universities and colleges is Nov 1. ETS said it will make universities aware of the situation. "It's important to note that even though test scores will be delivered in November, they will be reported as October scores," said Ewing. "Universities generally do their best to accommodate late scores from students when there are extenuating circumstances."

"It's quite an open secret within my industry that some people will manage to get the materials of SAT tests," said Hu Zhonghua, founder of OnePlusOne, a Beijing-based company that trains students for tests, including the SAT. He said training centers that prepare students for the SAT may leak test materials to students before the exam is held.

In 2013, the College Board canceled all SAT tests scheduled in May in the Republic of Korea due to allegations that test questions were leaked, affecting some 1,500 students.

Rebecca Joseph, associate professor with California State University, Los Angeles told China Daily the delay would be unfair for students who have truly prepared for the test. "My poor hard-working kids suffer," she said.

Joseph also runs that gives advice to students to be admitted to US universities and colleges.

"Stop blaming the kids, and they (ETS and the College Board) should take responsibilities," she said, adding that test administrators could have done a better job in guarding the security of test materials.

Lu Huiquan in New York contributed to this story.