SAT and ACT to adopt tougher security standards

SAT test preparation books sit on a shelf at a Barnes and Noble store in New York City.

Jeremy Hobson: The people who put together the SAT and ACT college entrance exams have announced new security standards in response to a cheating scandal. In New York State last year, students were accused of paying stand-ins to take tests on their behalf.

From the Marketplace education desk at WYPR, Amy Scott reports.

Amy Scott: Starting next school year, students taking the SAT or ACT will have to provide a head shot in advance. On test day, proctors will check to make sure the person showing up to take the test matches the photo.

ACT spokesman Scott Gomer says officials will also send the picture to the student's high school, along with the test scores.

Scott Gomer: The high school teachers and counselors are the ones that know the students best. They'll be able to determine whether or not that's the student who took the test.

Barmak Nassirian represents college admissions officers. He says colleges rely on these tests not only to admit students…but also to dole out financial aid.

Barmak Nassirian: And you cannot have gaping holes in test security and continue to be a central element of those transactions.

The tighter security won't raise prices. Students pay $34 to take the basic ACT; the SAT costs $49.

I'm Amy Scott for Marketplace.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.


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