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SAT/ACT test-takers to submit photographs in response to cheating scandal

March 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Students taking SAT or ACT examinations will be required to submit photographs when signing up, it was announced Tuesday.

The College Board and ACT Inc., the companies that run the two respective tests, announced the changes, including the requirement that students also identify the high school they attend, Tuesday in response to pressure following a test-cheating scandal in New York.

At least 20 current or former high school students were part of a cheating scheme in which students hired other students to take their tests for them in the Long Island, N.Y. area. Some teens paid as much as $3,500 each to take the exam. Five "ringers" were arrested for taking the tests; they allegedly used fake identification in order to take the exams.

Students will now have to submit head shots of themselves in advance with their test applications. A copy of that photo then will be printed on the admission ticket mailed to each student, and will appear on the test site roster. The photo will also be attached to the student's scores, which, for the first time, will be sent to his or her high school, so that administrators and guidance counselors can see the pictures. Previously, test results were sent only to the student.

Officials from the College Board and ACT Inc. said that any additional costs would be absorbed and not passed on to students. The College Board charges $49 for the SAT; ACT Inc. charges $34 for the basic test, $49.50 if it includes a writing exam.

During the 2010-11 school year nearly 3 million students worldwide took the SAT; 1.6 million students took the ACT in 2011.

In another key change, students will be required to identify on their application the high school they attend. In the Long Island scandal, the impostors often went to high schools in neighboring communities so they would not be recognized.

In addition, administrators will check student IDs more frequently at test centers. IDs will be examined when students enter a test site, whenever they re-enter the test room after breaks, and again when the answer sheets are collected.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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