In an attempt to combat cheating on the SAT exams, the College Board has decided to reduce international testing dates in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. The SAT will be offered only in October, December, March, and May. The SAT Subject Test will be offered in October, November, December, May, and June. In the new schedule, the June 2017 international SAT administration is canceled, although the SAT subject test will be available during that month.
Other measures announced by the College Board include providing the names of test prep companies and individuals it suspects of stealing secure test content to law enforcement agencies in the US and abroad, and prohibiting individuals from taking tests if they are believed to have gained or shared an unfair advantage on any College Board test.
The Board also said it would increase test center audits worldwide, make it easier for students and educators to confidentially report suspected cheating, and expand its criteria for barring registrants who are taking the SAT for other than its intended purposes.
The Board said these policies were intended to enhance the security of the SAT, protect the integrity of scores delivered to colleges and universities, and protect the vast majority of test takers who were honest.
The Board noted in its announcement, “While the growing influence of organizations that steal and sell test content to students has been concentrated in a few international locations in recent years, the solutions to preserve the integrity of SAT scores must be implemented globally.”
However, some test takers are not pleased. One commenter, Wendy Krakauer, said all international students were being penalized because of actions in a few locations. She added: “This is a huge hardship, cancelling SAT testing for June 2017. Especially since it makes more sense to take subject tests in May when students are ready for AP tests as well, and then take the SAT for the first time in June.”
Lilia E. Gonzalez, an SAT Center Supervisor in Mexico, noted, “This undifferentiated decision constitutes a direct affectation for our students in ASFM [American School Foundation of Monterrey].... I seriously disagree with this measure.”
Media reports last year noted that the College Board had failed to stop a widespread security problem, as Asian test-preparation companies were gathering questions and reading passages from past SAT exams, and then giving their clients that material to practice upon. The questions would later show up on SAT exams administered overseas, giving an unfair advantage to students who had seen them in advance.
“We are unwavering in our commitment to SAT test security and we will continue to confront any efforts to undermine it, including the unauthorized disclosure of test questions and test forms,” said Peter Schwartz, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel at the College Board. “There are three fundamental ways we protect the value of the SAT for test takers and score recipients: increasing the pool of test items, increasing security and deterrence, and limiting exposure of test materials by reducing the number of administrations. In all of our efforts, we’ve worked to strike a balance between thwarting those seeking an unfair advantage and providing testing opportunities for the vast majority of students who play by the rules.”
After a comprehensive investigation, the College Board also informed some students who took the SAT in January that their scores were being canceled. Scores for some other students are being reviewed. These actions are part of the standard process of ensuring the integrity of each SAT administration, the Board said.