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 regarding the writing section of last month’s ACT college-entrance exam are increasingly being canceled, in the latest example of how standardized test makers are struggling to contain a global epidemic of cheating.

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

ACT spokesman Ed Colby declined to state how many students were impacted by the October score cancellations, that he said involved test centers in Asia and Oceania. He described the incident because of “a compromise within the testing process” and said the affected students “amounted to simply a small part of examinees in your community.”

Affected students for the October score cancellation received an email from ACT that stated: “Unfortunately, events occurred which compromised the testing process for the writing portion of one’s test event. As a result, you’ll not receive a score for your writing test response/essay. Your choice that is multiple ACT, 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 take it to gauge an applicant’s writing and reasoning abilities.

The security incident that is latest is “a frustrating and complicated situation for our students,” said Kristin J. Dreazen, president regarding the international affiliate of 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 before the test to substitute a different essay topic compared to one that originally had shipped. Colby declined to comment on the test Reuters obtained.

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

ACT recently began shipping a number of its test booklets and answer sheets in lock boxes to protect against leaks. But the usage of lock boxes is still not universal, in accordance with test administrators.

In July, Reuters also detailed widespread cheating into the ACT-owned Global Assessment Certificate program. This 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 best buy essays centers in China described how school officials and proctors were and ignored sometimes complicit in cheating in the ACT. Eight teachers or administrators that have worked at seven different Chinese GAC centers also described cheating in program courses.

ACT’s chief rival, the newest College that is york-based Board which administers the SAT, happens to be struggling along with its own security problems. The faculty Board recently notified an number that is undisclosed of 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 shared and obtained the test content prior to the administration.” He declined to elaborate.

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

The SAT and ACT are utilized by a large number of U.S. colleges to aid pick from among millions of student applicants.

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