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

LONDON (Reuters) – Students in Asia have been notified that their scores in the writing area of last month’s ACT college-entrance exam are being canceled, within 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 Iowa-based nonprofit that operates the test, was forced to cancel its exam for several takers in South Korea is essayshark safe 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 express what amount of students were impacted by the October score cancellations, that he said test that is involved in Asia and Oceania. He described the incident as the result of “a compromise when you look at the testing process” and said the affected students “amounted to only a small part of examinees in the area.”

Affected students when it comes to October score cancellation received a message from ACT that stated: “Unfortunately, events occurred which compromised the testing process when it comes to portion that is writing of test event. As a result, you won’t 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 colleges that are many 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 for the international affiliate of this National Association for College Admission Counseling.

The day before the ACT was administered on Oct. 22, Reuters obtained a duplicate of an ACT writing test about the subject “Fame” that an Asian source said had leaked and would be to be given the next day. Test administrators in Asia were instructed shortly before the test to substitute a essay that is different than the one which 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 prior to the June breach, but that ACT executives had rejected the recommendations. The organization later let go the relative head associated with the unit. ACT’s chief executive, Marten Roorda, has declined to be interviewed.

ACT recently began shipping several of its test booklets and answer sheets in lock boxes to protect against leaks. But the utilization of lock boxes ‘s still not universal, in accordance with test administrators.

In July, Reuters also detailed widespread cheating into the ACT-owned Global Assessment Certificate program. The program, that offers college courses that are preparatory 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 ignored and were sometimes complicit in cheating regarding 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 latest College that is york-based Board which administers the SAT, happens to be struggling having its own security problems. The faculty Board recently notified an undisclosed wide range of test-takers in Egypt that their scores were being canceled when it comes to 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 business was investigating what she termed “a serious criminal matter.”

The SAT and ACT are employed by tens and thousands of U.S. colleges to simply help choose from among scores of student applicants.