Exclusive: ACT cancels test scores in Asia after leak of essay question

Exclusive: ACT cancels test scores in Asia after leak of essay question

LONDON (Reuters) – Students in Asia have been notified that their scores regarding the writing section of last month’s ACT college-entrance exam are being canceled, within the latest example of how standardized test makers are struggling to contain a worldwide epidemic of cheating.

The incident comes just months after ACT Inc, the Iowa-based nonprofit that operates the test, was forced to cancel its exam for all takers in South Korea and Hong Kong. That incident, in June, marked the first time the high-stakes exam was canceled for an entire country.

ACT spokesman Ed Colby declined to say what number of students were affected by the October score cancellations, that he said involved test centers in Asia and Oceania. He described the incident because of “a compromise into the testing process” and said the affected students “amounted to only a portion that is small of in the area.”

Affected students when it comes to October score cancellation received an email from ACT that stated: “Unfortunately, events occurred which compromised the testing process for the writing portion of your test event. As a total result, you will not receive a score for your writing test response/essay. Your choice that is multiple ACT, mathematics, reading, and science tests—WILL be scored.”

The message added that ACT will issue each student a $16 refund.

The ACT writing section is nominally voluntary, but many colleges require students to go on it to gauge an applicant’s writing and reasoning abilities.

The latest security incident is “a frustrating and complicated situation for the students,” said Kristin J. Dreazen, president of this international affiliate of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

A single day ahead of the ACT was administered on Oct. 22, Reuters obtained a copy of an ACT writing test about the subject “Fame” that an Asian source said had leaked and would be to be given the day that is next. Test administrators in Asia were instructed shortly prior to the test to substitute a different essay topic as compared to one that originally had shipped. Colby declined to touch upon the test Reuters obtained.

Reuters reported in July that ACT’s test security unit repeatedly had recommended tightening security overseas prior to the customwriting.com June breach, but that ACT executives had rejected the recommendations. Continue reading “Exclusive: ACT cancels test scores in Asia after leak of essay question”