College Board strengthens test security

Sahil Modi, News Editor

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Photo Illustration by Hope Mailing

During the September ACT, senior Maddie Hayes watched as a student was caught cheating. At the beginning of the break between sections, the proctor went around the room and marked the question each student had stopped at. After the break, the proctor saw that the cheating student had bubbled in more answers from a previous section.

In an effort to ensure the integrity of standardized test scores, the College Board announced new measures to enhance security on the SAT, SAT Subject Tests and AP exams. Some measures have been implemented and others will be put into effect for future exams. More information is expected to be released later this spring.

According to a statement released by the College Board on Feb. 21, one of the new measures is to increase test center inspections worldwide. However, the College Board has not released how it plans to do so.

Hayes said she believes these inspections are necessary because the current test procedures do not do a satisfactory job to prevent cheating.

“You’re [sitting] pretty close to other students, and I know of students that have cheated and gotten away with it, and have gotten really good scores from cheating,” Hayes said.

The College Board also announced that it plans to make it easier for students and educators to anonymously report suspected cheating.

Senior Sarthak Singh said this new measure will definitely be beneficial to people who are fearful of reporting suspected cheating.

P.E. teacher Renee Brosnan, who has proctored several standardized tests, said she has caught students cheating.

“I found that a lot of people try to go back [and answer questions on a previous section],” said Brosnan. “If they finish their test early, they try to go back and finish the rest, but they cannot.”

The College Board also plans to prohibit individuals from taking a College Board test when they have been suspected of gaining an unfair advantage.

Junior Hayley Matan said she believes her proctors effectively prevented cheating during the state-funded April SAT. They made sure that nobody was looking at anyone else’s test by walking through each row multiple times throughout the test.

According to the statement, the new policies build on and enhance the measures the College Board has implemented in the past few years. The past measures include increased security of test materials and thorough test-day protocols such as photo ID requirements.

Eric Etherton, associate principal for curriculum and instruction, said to prevent cheating, the College Board has always required Glenbrook North to regulate room size and have at least four feet in between each desk during testing.

There have been some instances of cheating, and it is important to remember that if one student cheats, all of the students’ test scores in that room are in jeopardy of being invalidated, Etherton said.

English teacher Susan Albert said cheating most likely occurs more often than others realize and reflects the character of the cheater.

“It obviously makes me sad that the kids don’t value their learning more and don’t value their own integrity more,” said Albert. “Every time they cheat, they make themselves smaller and smaller.”

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College Board strengthens test security