ACT to offer test-prep package in China

By Paul Welitzkin in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-05-17 10:47

The organization behind the ACT college entrance examination has teamed up with a large Chinese commercial testing service provider to offer a preparation program for Chinese students who will take the test that many American colleges and universities require in the admission process.

Ed Colby, a spokesman for ACT in Iowa, said the "student journey" package from ACT and ATA Online (Beijing) Education Technology Co Ltd is an individualized program designed to help students understand their academic strengths and weaknesses and how they can make improvements.

Students will begin by answering individual practice questions in each of the four subjects in an ACT exam - math, science, reading, and English. The students determine their areas of focus from this first step.

The goal is to help Chinese students identify gaps in their ACT-tested knowledge via diagnostic online assessments.

"ATA will also offer a full mock ACT experience where the student literally practices taking the exam in an assessment center under the same conditions as the ACT - proctored, timed, (lasting) 3-4 hours in duration," Colby wrote in an email Tuesday.

Cheating on exams like the ACT or its rival SAT has been reported in Asia and in other countries. Students feel pressure to do well on the tests that are important components of their applications to US colleges and universities.

In 2016, SAT exams were canceled at 45 testing sites across the Chinese mainland and Macao because test-takers received test materials for the exams. In 2015, prosecutors in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia charged 15 Chinese citizens over a conspiracy to have impostors take SAT and other college entrance exams for other students for payment of up to $6,000. Most of the defendants pleaded guilty and were deported from the US.

Last year, ACT was forced to cancel its exam in South Korea and Hong Kong due to widespread security breaches.

Colby said ACT does not release information about test security incidents.

"ACT takes test security very seriously. We use layers of security measures and procedures to deter and detect cheating attempts. Our test security measures are constantly evolving in response to emerging threats," he said.

(China Daily USA 05/17/2017 page2)

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