For many students, the College Board’s SAT is the most important test of their lives, for their scores can determine whether they get accepted or rejected by the college of their dreams. As such, it is vital that these tests remain fair for all students involved. However, August’s SAT may have compromised that fairness and accidentally given some students a leg up on the test.
The August 2018 test, was reported by students to have included questions from a 2017 SAT administered in Asia. These students took to social media to comment about it. The College Board has not confirmed these rumors, as it is in their policy to never comment about the usage of questions on the test. However, when a lawsuit was led by the father of a student who took the August SAT, the College Board responded, “In response to theft and organized cheating, which affect all high-stakes testing, we have significantly increased our test security efforts and resources. This is a persistent problem, but one that we are making progress in combating.” The security of the August test may be questionable though, for, in Asia, the test had been circulating on social media for months before the exam was administered.
Of course, the question remains as to why the same version of a test was used twice. As a matter of fact, this isn’t even the first time the College Board has been found to be reusing entire tests. The news organization Reuters discovered that several past SATs included questions that were already available online, the latest of these administered in 2016. In the same year, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) issued statements to the College Board that addressed their concerns regarding the SAT’s security. This is the first of these statements: “Recognize that while the re-use of entire standardized test forms or test questions is a long-standing practice, the proliferation of modern communications technology today has rendered it vulnerable to easy exploitation.” The answer as to why the College Board recycles previous tests is simple: it saves money. According to the College Board’s spokesman, Zach Goldberg, the cost of making a new test every time for the SAT is simply too high, as it requires the College Board to advertise, proctor, grade, and mail tests. This is largely why the SAT is already $47.50 without the essay.
In response to the cheating that had taken place on the day of August’s SAT exam, the College Board issued a statement that anyone found guilty of cheating on the test may have their scores canceled and may even be barred from taking the test ever again. In order to see if cheating has occurred, the College Board has said they are using “Comprehensive Statistical Analysis” of test scores, but have neglected to share the process of how they do that. To emphasize its goal of curbing
academic dishonesty, the College Board released a statement saying that “The vast majority of students followed our test security policies and our efforts are focused on identifying those who did not.”
It is not, however, a matter of simply following the test security policies. With the recycling of questions, there isn’t a guarantee that a student who takes the SAT twice won’t be given the same test again.The fact that some students did get the same test twice caused a petition to be created on whitehouse.org, the goal of which was to cancel the SAT scores. With approximately 2,000 people signing it, the petition didn’t meet its goal of 100,000 signers, and the SAT scores for August were released inSeptember of 2018 as planned.
By Morgan Ku / Staff Writer