June 2019: Global SAT Subject Test Security Breach; Scores Compromised

for further information:                                                                 

Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773                              

           mobile  (239) 699-0468                              

 

for immediate release Thursday, June 6, 2019

GLOBAL SAT SUBJECT TEST SECURITY BREACH LAST WEEKEND;

SCORES COMPROMISED BY ADVANCE CIRCULATION OF EXAM;

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ALSO POSTED ON REDDIT WEB SITE

MANY HOURS BEFORE ADMINISTRATIONS BEGAN IN U.S.

      Last weekend’s SAT Biology Subject Test was in circulation more than half a day before the test’s administration, according to a watchdog group that received an advance copy. In addition, exam questions and answers were posted on the website Reddit.com hours before U.S. testing started.

     Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), explained, “Early Friday evening, May 31, 2019, FairTest received a call from East Asia. The anonymous caller offered us an advance copy of the SAT Biology E/M Subject Test scheduled to be administered on Saturday, June 1. At 6:13pm EDT on Friday, May 31, we received an email copy of a complete Biology exam, apparently excerpted from the official booklet of SAT Subject Tests.”

     Schaeffer continued, “Early Saturday morning U.S. time, hours before test administration began in the Western Hemisphere, Biology Test questions and answers were posted on a Reddit message board (https://www.reddit.com/r/Sat/comments/bvi735/official_june_2019_biology_discussion/). The content was identical to the material FairTest had received the previous evening. The Reddit discussion site is open to the public and draws heavy traffic from test-takers.”

      FairTest received advance copies of SAT exams from sources in Asia four other times in recent years. For many other administrations, actual exam items were posted online before U.S. students entered test centers. Given this history, Schaeffer says the latest incident raises serious questions:

      -  How widely was the leaked June 1 Biology Subject Test circulated? In a world of instantaneous, global communication, if an exam is compromised anywhere, the items can be distributed everywhere.
      - Which other Subject Tests were also compromised? The file FairTest received on Friday night included the introduction to the Chemistry Subject Test; content from that exam was also posted on Reddit before the test was administered in the U.S.
      -  Will scores from students taking these compromised tests be reported as valid?

      -  How can any admissions office trust the integrity of the June 1, 2019 Subject Test results?

      -  When will the College Board admit that its test security programs have repeatedly failed?

 

      FairTest’s Schaeffer concluded, “Along with the ‘Varsity Blues’ scandal, the College Board’s security problems provide more evidence that SAT scores are not a reliable measure of readiness for college. That is one reason why more than 1,025 accredited, bachelor-degree granting colleges and universities now have test-optional admissions policies (http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional).

 

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