‘massive’ security breach exposes hundreds of new sat questions _ daily mail online

Just months after the College Board unveiled the new SAT this March, a person with access to material for upcoming versions of the redesigned exam has provided hundreds of confidential test items.

Reuters doesn’t know how widely the items have circulated, and has no evidence that the material has fallen into the hands of what the College Board calls ‘bad actors’ – groups that the organization says ‘will lie, cheat and steal for personal gain’.

Just months after the College Board unveiled the new SAT this March, a person with access to material for upcoming versions of the redesigned exam has provided hundreds of confidential test items (stock)

Shortly after David Coleman took over as CEO in 2012, the College Board began redesigning its signature product, the SAT college entrance exam. Tendering uk The testing company also hired a consultancy to identify the risks associated with the monumental undertaking.


Among the red flags that consultant Gartner Inc raised in an October 2013 report: The not-for-profit College Board needed to better protect the material being developed for the new SAT.

Plans to secure the new test from leaks or theft had ‘not been developed’ by the organization, the consultancy wrote in the report. Re tendering process At risk were thousands of items, or questions, that were being prepared for the redesigned SAT.

In 2014, employees at the New York-based College Board also raised concerns, arguing for limits on who could access items and answer keys for the revamped SAT, an email shows.

Independent testing specialists briefed on the matter said the breach represents one of the most serious security lapses that’s come to light in the history of college-admissions testing.

In a subsequent letter, an attorney for the College Board said publishing any of the items would have a dire impact, ‘destroying their value, rendering them unusable, and inflicting other injuries on the College Board and test takers’.

The College Board is ‘taking the test forms with stolen content off of the SAT administration schedule while we continue to monitor and analyze the situation’, she said.

The SAT is used by US universities to help evaluate more than a million college applicants a year, and so a major security lapse could cause havoc for admissions officers and students alike.

That College Board security was breached is ‘a problem of a massive level’, one that could ‘put into question the credibility of the exam’, said Neal Kingston, who heads the Achievement and Assessment Institute at the University of Kansas.

If unscrupulous test-preparation centers were to obtain the items, the impact on the SAT would be ‘devastating’, said James Wollack, director of the Center for Placement Testing at the University of Wisconsin.

‘Everyone will pull out all stops to try to compromise this test,’ Wollack said. Government electronic tendering service That items for upcoming exams have leaked is ‘very alarming, very concerning indeed’.

But Wollack and Kingston noted that the latest incident is more serious than the widespread SAT cheating reported in East Asia during the past few years.

As reported in March, the College Board has been unable to prevent foreign test-preparation operators from giving their clients an advance look at exam questions.

Those problems were primarily a result of the organization’s reuse of previously administered exams. How to register for e tendering This breakdown involves test items that have never been given.

The materials provided contain a wealth of items for upcoming tests: reading passages drawn from novels, historical documents, scientific journals, essays and other texts, each accompanied by questions.

The reports earlier this year detailed how an East Asian industry is exploiting the College Board’s routine practice of recycling items from past tests.

Cram schools drill their students on questions harvested from previous tests, conferring an enormous advantage over students who see the items for the first time when the exam is given.

If the College Board can’t keep test material secure, schools are left with the impossible task of determining whether an applicant saw questions before taking the exam and therefore gained an unfair edge.

In a video published in August 2014 by the College Board showing highlights from its SAT redesign announcement event, the message ‘We will tell everyone what is on the exam’ was included

Internal documents reviewed by this news agency showed that material for past exams had been ‘compromised’, a term the College Board uses to describe tests whose contents have leaked outside the organization.

Spokesman Zach Goldberg described the organization’s use of lock boxes to help prevent the theft of SAT booklets sent to international testing locations.

The question related to a confidential June 2013 PowerPoint presentation the College Board prepared after a major security breach in South Korea.

Historically, the development of questions to be used on the SAT was primarily handled by the non-profit Educational Testing Service, or ETS.

After Coleman took over, however, the College Board began handling many aspects of the SAT redesign in-house rather than through contractor ETS, documents reviewed show.

The College Board also began managing the ‘Item Bank’, the repository of questions created for the SAT. Procurement and tendering process In the past, that responsibility had belonged to ETS.

As its staff worked on the new exam in 2013, the outside consultant was brought in to evaluate the risks the organization faced as it worked to finish the redesign.

In an internal report from October 2013 labeled ‘FINAL DRAFT’, Gartner advised the College Board to ‘develop and document a program security plan’ to handle test materials.

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