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SAT security: new safeguards to prevent cheating announced


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


Mario Tama

The College Board announced new security procedures today that will make it harder to cheat on the SAT or ACT college entrance exams.

Starting this fall, students will be required to upload a photograph of themselves when they register for the SAT or ACT, the Associated Press reported. If they don’t have access to a scanner, they must mail a photo to the testing agency, which will scan it in for them. Their photo will be printed on their admission ticket into the testing site and the test site roster and will accompany their scores when they are reported to high schools and colleges.

College Board officials said that test centers will check student IDs more frequently, the AP reported, including when they enter the test site for the first time, whenever they re-enter the test room after breaks, when the answer sheets are collected and during random spot checks.

"We are confident that the security enhancements announced today will help maintain an honest and fair testing environment for the millions of students who take the SAT each year as part of the college admission process," Kathryn Juric, vice president of the College Board for the SAT Program, said today, according to ABC News.

In 2011, 138 SAT scores were canceled after the Educational Testing Service, the company that administers the test, discovered that students had cheated on their exams, ABC News reported. That’s a small fraction of the scores earned by students who took the SAT last year (more than 2 million students take the test annually, the College Board says).

However, a high-profile cheating scandal in Long Island, New York, last fall drew attention to the weak security measures around the SAT. In the scandal, 20 students were arrested for either impersonating a student and taking the test for them or paying someone to take it for them, ABC News reported.

More from GlobalPost: 20 New York students arrested in SAT cheating scandal

Some of the stand-ins earned as much as $3,500 for their test-taking efforts, the AP reported. The cases against the students are still pending.

"These reforms close a gaping hole in standardized test security that allowed students to cheat and steal admissions offers and scholarship money from kids who play by the rules," Long Island’s Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said, according to the AP.

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