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Reuters Investigates College Board’s Knowledge of Widespread Cheating on the SAT Overseas

Reuters Investigates College Board’s Knowledge of Widespread Cheating on the SAT Overseas

According to an extensive Reuters investigation, cheating on the SAT overseas is becoming increasingly easier for foreign students, compromising “the validity of scores for thousands of students who take the SAT each year.”

“We found students from China who told us they had seen and studied ahead of time parts of tests they ended up taking. We also discovered something else- that even when tipsters warned security officials that exams were circulating before the test date, the College Board typically went ahead and gave the SAT anyway,” said Reuters investigative project editor Black Morrison said.

According to Reuters, not only is redesigning a new exam a costly and time-consuming process, the College Board did not scrap leaked versions of the SAT overseas because it wants to ensure that scores of foreign students are comparable to American students.

Reuters cites the existence of a “vibrant Asian industry that systematically exploits security shortcomings in the SAT,” which includes reusing material from tests already given.

Reuters says its investigation uncovered that of the 64,000 students who took the SAT in the 2013-2014 school year, its impossible for admissions officers to know how many of those students saw the test in advance.

This year, the first overseas sitting of the newly designed SAT will occur on May 7.

Just like in years prior, Reuters says, cheating will be rampant as Asian prep centers have rushed to obtain inside knowledge.

"Already, American students who took the new test in March have been discussing the questions and answers online in granular detail. Asian prep centers have rushed to learn all they can about the redesigned SAT and share the intelligence with their clients,” Reuters said.

But the College Board is likely not upset. 

“Students in China mean more and more to American universities,” Morrison said, as increasing number of Chinese students bring in money for both them and the College Board.

This monetary relationship is why Reuters says the College Board typically turns the other cheek to knowledge it receives of security breaches.

Reuters asks: ”If no one knows whether a test taker saw the actual exam ahead of time, how can admissions officers feel comfortable in weighing one student’s application against another’s?”

Hear the full podcast here.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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