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ACT/SAT/AP Inconsistency or Cheating?


MagnetMom July 16, 2008

The LA Times recently reported on an Orange County, CA school that had its AP scores invalidated due to inconsistencies and that story is located here.

Secondly, schools are not told why scores were invalidated, and the SAT/ACT do little to combat cheating according to this article:

Are the companies that put out the tests putting an unfair burden on students without due process?  And should the kids be punished for not enough proctors?  And from the universities' perspective, should they be told if an inconsistency was student-driven or location-driven?

Thankfully none of these situations happened with my son's scores/tests, and his scores/grades have already shown up on his college transcripts, but I can not imagine the stress the families are going through trying to retest.  On the other hand, if there were a group cheating and no proctor, would it be fair to the thousands who took the test properly to leave the scores?

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healthy11 July 17, 2008

I had a funny feeling this would somehow involve electronics, and it sounds like cell phone texting was at the center of the cheating. It doesn't really surprise me, and clearly the test proctors (or lack thereof) do bear some responsibility. Those who are caught cheating should suffer consequences, but it sounds like there wasn't adequate supervision to see it when it first happened; only after tests were scored did patterns appear.

I do think it would be helpful for universities to know the reason that students' test scores are cancelled, although, if the College Board simply says "student driven" it might be misconstrued as cheating, when apparently a student who was ill can also get scores removed.

I'm actually a bit surprised the universities aren't pushing for more explanation. They (presumably) want honest students to enroll who have a good chance of staying (retention and graduation rates seem pretty important when colleges compare data) HOWEVER, I suppose if a student doesn't get AP credit, it means they have to take more courses on campus, which keeps professors employed and tuition coming in for another semester or so...


MagnetMom July 17, 2008

There was another story on the news about the Orange County High School. Ten students were disciplined by the school for cheating and 375 test scores were invalidated. Somehow that really doesn't seem fair, that a) the College Board doesn't bother to do anything to the 10 kids and yet puts a cloud over the heads of all 375.

The school is picking up the tab for the retest, but, parents are upset as kids have already burned notes, vacations have to be cancelled, and the worst part is that upwards of $30,000 in tuition will be the result if they don't retake the tests and have to take the classes again at the college level.

It does bother me that a testing company claims it can help determine if my son is college material but doesn't take ownership of the weaknesses of its testing program.


MSMomm July 17, 2008

My daughter, who will be a senior this year, took both the SAT and ACT at UCLA. I don't believe that the universities should be told that a student's score is being invalidated because of cheating. Yes, the student knows when walking in to take these tests that he/she should not cheat. If they are caught, only they should be forced to retake the test. However, I do believe the universities should be informed of invalidation due the location's lack of proctors, and such. These locations know in advance how many students will be taking the tests. I think that when students walk in, they should be assigned a container of some sort and told to put ALL devices into that container, which will be held by the proctors. Have the students go through a metal detector. Their belongings will be returned to them when they turn in their test papers. Yes, this is time consuming, and it's like being found guilty before proven innocent, but, unfortunately, this is what happens when a few ruin it for the many. Proctors should be constantly walking around, not sitting.

I feel very sorry for all those students and their parents who worked hard to study for these important tests, and it saddens me they will have to pay and study again for others foolishness and selfishness.

I would say to those who cheated: What goes around, comes around.


MagnetMom July 24, 2008

Just an update: The Education Testing Service has responded to explain why they have rescinded the test scores of nearly 400 OC teens.

It's very frustrating to see these kids were let down by the adults in charge.


OesSista May 6, 2009

My son recently took the SAT and ACT and his scores improved on both test however on his SAT's due to the increased score, ETS has with held his scores. I am levid that they would accuse a student of cheating without we say innocent until proven guilty. The excuse they gave for their proctors was: they don't have eyes in the back of their heads and they can't watch every student-What a poor excuse for a national testing center. I paid a tutor and purchased additional SAT reference materials and my son had a mandatoy study period after the bell at home to prepae for this exam on top of his regular studies and this is the slap in the face a parent and student have to face for doing ALL the right things.....Please advice if you know of any legal steps I can seek. Thanks, from one hard working parent to another

I can't even sleep after hearing this news today....2:19am. Also, this has caused my son to become depressed, because he worked hard to achieve his earned scores to be stolen as well as cheated from him by ETS.


healthy11 May 7, 2009

OesSista, I've not heard of anyone else this has happened to, so I'm not sure what to do. When the College Board said they were witholding his scores, did they say if it was under review, and might be released later? Did they offer to let him retake the test? (If their proctors are deemed to be unreliable, they shouldn't make him pay the exam fee again.) What does your son's high school counselor say? Can they make an appeal on his behalf? (Schools get reports of everyone's test scores....I wonder if their data shows his numerical results?)
You might want to post your question on the free legal advice site,, and see if anyone there can help.


back2bkc November 12, 2009

Educational Testing Service (ETS) which administers the SATs and AP exams, recently discarded the perfect 5 Calculus scores of twins whose answers were "too similar" on three free response questions. Despite providing documentation regarding their IDENTICAL academic environment, as well as supporting statements from Dr. Nancy Segal, Director of the Twin Studies Center at Cal State Fullerton, ETS again denied the scores. Why does this company have complete autonomy when it comes to arbitration? How can they not consider twins differently than two unrelated test takers? Does anyone have advice regarding another way to penetrate this system to achieve a fair decision?

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