- International students who take the College Board’s SAT, especially those in Asia, often have access to specific questions that make it into the assessments before they take it, thanks to security breaches the organization has been unable to prevent, according to a Reuters investigation.
- The wire service reports test prep companies in Asia scour the internet for chatter from students in the United States and elsewhere who take the exams first and even have people take the tests and then report back, later compiling study guides for Asian students to benefit from recycled test material.
- China is the SAT’s largest market, and while the College Board has canceled some tests and withheld scores because of security breaches, the Reuters investigation found an internal analysis noted that reducing the number of test dates in China would open the door for ACT to gain market share.
The SAT is offered so frequently it would be significantly more expensive to create brand-new content for every sitting. The recycled material seems to be a key security flaw, however, and while the new SAT, which debuted in the United States earlier this month, resets the test prep industry, it is expected to catch up very quickly.
The Reuters investigation will bolster arguments from opponents of the test, who argue it is already biased against women, older test-takers, low-income students, and minorities. Research has shown it is not particularly predictive of college student success. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing has tracked the shift toward test-optional admissions at colleges across the country, finding a small surge in recent years.