The ACT exam to be held on June 11th for applicants in South Korea and Hong Kong was cancelled after there were reports of test leaks. This was the first instance of a highly popular exam like ACT being cancelled in an entire country, but it is representative of the nuisance of cheating on tests that open the doors to some of the top colleges in the US.
It might be recalled that in 2013, the College Board cancelled the SAT in South Korea because the exam material was leaked. It was also forced to delay SAT results six times in Asia and cancelled the exam in two locations. The College Board took these steps only when there was proof that the test material has been compromised.
Standardized test cheating menace in South East Asia revealed further
It is interesting to note that the tutors and proprietors of test cram companies in South Korea are on trial for the incident in 2013. However it doesn’t seem to have detracted those who indulge in such malpractices. The recent leak of test in the country is the proof of that. As the popularity of the ACT and SAT increases in South East Asia, these instances also seem to be on the rise.
ACT Inc. a non-profit organization based in Iowa, which conducts the tests, without divulging details, revealed that the exam was cancelled after the breach was discovered on June 10th. The cancellation notice was dispatched at 6 am on Test Day. According to Ed Colby, Spokesperson, ACT, “The cancellation affected around 5500 students who were due to take the exam at 56 locations.”
While he revealed that the ACT will offer them refunds of registration fees, it would not be possible for the organization to reschedule the test. It means that the next ACT test to be conducted in the country will be in September. “It’s unfortunate that students who have no involvement in any wrongful activities have been impacted by this as well,” said Colby.
Standardized test cheating rings are not uncommon in South Korea, or other parts of South East Asia for that matter. There is a full-fledged industry in China that takes advantage of the fact that the College Board often recycles SAT test forms. It does that by getting hold of the previous tests and feeding questions to their clients before their exams.
With an increasing number of foreign students, especially from South East Asia, hoping to make their way into the renowned US universities, the cheating incidents are rising. ACT overtook SAT as the most popular standardized test in the US a few years ago and is fast gaining prominence amongst foreign students too. Hence the latest incident might be unfortunate but is definitely not surprising.