March 27, 2019 update
The two test proctors who were indicted in the Varsity Blues case took advantage of a process we have in place to ensure that students with disabilities can receive the accommodations they need. Certain accommodations are delivered in a school-based setting apart from the larger administration. Specifically, Mr. Singer instructed his clients to travel to receive school-based accommodations at Dvorskiy and Williams’ schools, not their own schools.
To prevent this abuse of the system, the College Board will ensure students with school-based accommodations test at their home schools whenever possible. Going forward, in the very rare cases in which students request to receive school-based accommodations at a school other than their own, the College Board will require verifiable justification and implement additional enhanced security processes.
These changes will ensure the College Board continues to promote access and equity for all students while safeguarding the integrity of the SAT. We want to express our gratitude to the many thousands of educators who serve as coordinators and proctors and work hard to ensure a smooth, fair and secure testing environment for all students.
Original statement published March 13, 2019
The arrests resulting from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts send a clear message that those who facilitate cheating on the SAT—regardless of their income or status—will be held accountable. The College Board has a comprehensive, robust approach to combat cheating, and as part of that effort we work closely with law enforcement, as we did in this investigation. We will always take all necessary steps to ensure a fair and secure experience for the overwhelming majority of test takers who are honest and play by the rules.
The College Board relies on schools to select administrators and proctors, whose roles are to ensure fair testing environments for all students by following our policies and procedures. The overwhelming majority take the role very seriously and work hard to ensure a smooth and secure testing environment for all students. In the rare instances when they don’t, we take appropriate action on behalf of students. Further, when schools don’t comply with our policies and procedures, we reserve the right to prohibit them from administering future tests.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the College Board’s involvement in the case?
The College Board has and will continue to assist authorities with their investigation. There were two proctors identified in the complaint. The College Board relies on administrators and proctors to ensure a fair testing environment for all students by following our policies and procedures. The overwhelming majority take the role very seriously and work hard to ensure a smooth and secure testing environment for all students. In the rare instances when they don’t, we take appropriate action on behalf of students. Further, when schools don’t comply with our policies and procedures, we reserve the right to prohibit them from administering future tests.
What does the College Board do to stop cheating?
Theft and organized cheating threaten all high-stakes testing, which is why we have significantly increased our test security efforts and resources in recent years. We have bolstered our security efforts by adding to our test security team, and their expertise has led to innovations in preventing cheating. That includes producing more test content, banning and collecting cell phones, employing lock boxes, increasing regular, random audits of test centers, conducting data-driven analyses of test taker behaviors, and enhancing security measures at test centers. We’re doing more today than ever to ensure the test scores we report to colleges are accurate and valid.
There are reports that some of these scams took advantage of accommodations policies. How do students receive accommodations for the SAT?
The College Board considers all reasonable requests for accommodations that students with documented disabilities need—such as large print, braille, or extended time. Requests must be approved by the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities, and in some cases, documentation will be requested. Because the school staff knows their students best, the vast majority of students who are approved for testing accommodations at their school through a current Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan will have those same accommodations automatically approved for taking the SAT, PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP Exams.
How do you work to provide more opportunities for students taking the SAT?
It used to be that only some students could afford high-quality test prep through costly commercial prep. Now, all students taking the SAT have access to free, personalized Official SAT Practice. More than 8 million students—across all races and income levels— have signed up for personalized SAT practice on Khan Academy. Research shows that students who practiced 20 hours on Official SAT Practice achieved an average 115-point score gain on the SAT—nearly double the average gain among students who did not use Khan Academy. Data also shows that practice on Khan Academy advanced all students without respect to high school GPA, gender, race and ethnicity, and parental education.
I have information about cheating that I would like to report. What should I do?
We encourage anyone with knowledge of any attempt to gain an unfair advantage on the SAT to contact the Office of Testing Integrity. Reports can be made confidentially at (609) 406-5430 or (800) 353-8570 (U.S. only) or [email protected].
Last updated: March 28, 2019