Pho­tos re­quired for col­lege tests

Cheating scan­dal sparks changes to boost se­cu­rity

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY FRANK ELTMAN

MI­NE­OLA, N.Y. | The mil­lions of stu­dents who take the SAT or ACT each year will have to sub­mit pho­tos of them­selves when they sign up for the col­lege en­trance ex­ams, un­der a host of new se­cu­rity mea­sures an­nounced Tues­day in the af­ter­math of a ma­jor cheating scan­dal on Long Is­land.

The two com­pa­nies that ad­min­is­ter the tests, the Col­lege Board and ACT Inc., agreed to the pre­cau­tions un­der public pres­sure brought to bear by Nas­sau County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kath­leen Rice, who is over­see­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The mea­sures take ef­fect in the fall.

Ms. Rice has charged 20 cur­rent or for­mer stu­dents from a clus­ter of wellto-do, high-achiev­ing sub­urbs on Long Is­land with par­tic­i­pat­ing in a scheme in which teenagers hired other peo­ple for as much as $3,500 each to take the exam for them. The five al­leged ringers ar­rested in the case were ac­cused of flash­ing phony IDS when they showed up for the tests. All 20 have pleaded not guilty.

Stu­dents have long been re­quired to show iden­ti­fi­ca­tion when they ar­rive for one of the tests. Un­der the new rules, they will have to sub­mit head shots of them­selves in ad­vance with their test ap­pli­ca­tion. The photo will be printed on the ad­mis­sion ticket mailed to each stu­dent, and will also ap­pear on the test site ros­ter.

School ad­min­is­tra­tors are “go­ing to be able to com­pare the photo and the per­son who showed up and say that’s ei­ther John Doe or that’s not John Doe,” the dis­trict at­tor­ney said.

Of­fi­cials from the Col­lege Board and ACT Inc. said that any ad­di­tional costs would be ab­sorbed and not passed on to stu­dents.

Dur­ing the 2010-11 school year, nearly 3 mil­lion stu­dents world­wide took the SAT; 1.6 mil­lion stu­dents took the ACT in 2011.

Bob Scha­ef­fer, public ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tor of Fairtest: Na­tional Cen­ter for Fair & Open Test­ing, a long­time critic of the SAT, said the new pro­ce­dures would still not pre­vent cheating if a stu­dent sub­mit­ted an im­pos­tor’s pho­to­graph.

But Ms. Rice ar­gued that the fol­low-up re­port to the stu­dent’s high school, with the pho­to­graph, should de­ter most cheating.

“Know­ing that’s go­ing to be go­ing back to their high schools, specif­i­cally their guid­ance coun­selor, that’s the backup check that’s go­ing to pre­vent it from hap­pen­ing,” the dis­trict at­tor­ney said.


Nas­sau County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kath­leen Rice (right) joins Kathryn Juric, vice pres­i­dent of the SAT pro­gram for the Col­lege Board, in Mi­ne­ola, N.Y., on Tues­day as they an­nounce a se­cu­rity over­haul to pre­vent cheating on the SAT ex­ams.

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