Security Breaches In The SAT – Vulnerabilities Exploited

Based on the reports by The College Board, the non-profit organization that owns SAT, around 1.5 million students take the college entrance test every year. Close to 100,000 of those test takers are from foreign countries, including a large number of students from Asia.

According to reports, that’s the region where the SAT has been compromised a lot more than is talked about. Unfortunately the entrance test, which has been redesigned, still contains the vulnerability that is being exploited by test-prep school.

Unfair advantage

There have been instances of students from countries like China, who have been armed with a booklet from their test-prep schools. This booklet has an edge over the practice questions that students in the US tend to focus on, and that’s because it’s actually an answer key.

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The test prep school industry in Asia has been exploiting security issues and loopholes with the SAT for many years now. In fact, the College Board has acknowledged that and delayed giving scores and cancelled exams in the region on a few instances.

Where the problem lies

The actions from the College Board reveal that the test material has been leaked to applicants. And the main reason that happens is the fact that the test governing body has made it a practice to reuse the material from the previous tests.

There have been cases where some of the students already knew the answers to almost 50% of the questions in various sections of the test. These students then went on to score perfect or close to perfect scores in these particular sections, gaining an unfair advantage.

The security menace runs deep

A report by Reuters reveals that since late 2013, the content of SAT was publicly exposed 14 times before the International test. From scores being delayed by the College Board to tests in mainland China and Macau being cancelled in Jan this year, these incidents establish the widespread menace of the security breaches.

Unfortunately because of the numbers involved and the extent of these breaches, it has been practically impossible for admission officers to know which of the students had access to the test material.

SAT redesigned doesn’t address the issue

The College Board brought in the redesigned SAT in the US recently while the first overseas redesigned test will be conducted in May. Sadly since recycling of the test material continues, there is no way around the security breaches.

Test prep schools have their associates take the exam and photograph the test booklet or memorize its content. They also access information shared by American students on forums and analyze it to give their candidates an undue advantage.

Till the SAT security problem is addressed, the entrance test will be plagued with doubts, especially for students from the region.

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