Computerized Truth-in-Testing Blocked in NY Assembly

General Testing

Despite bipartisan support and backing from dozens of student, civil rights, and consumer advocacy groups, a bill to extend Truth-in-Testing protections to computer-administered university admissions exams stalled in New York's Legislature before its summer recess. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Kenneth LaValle, a suburban Republican, and Deputy Assembly Majority Leader Arthur Eve, an urban Democrat, passed the more conservative Senate but stalled in the Assembly after its passage was linked to an unrelated proposal.


FairTest had delivered invited testimony to an Albany hearing and spoken at a news conference in favor of applying Truth-in-Testing to all exams, concluding, "New York's landmark Truth-in-Testing law continues to serve the public interest by ensuring that the college and graduate school admissions exams which have a major impact on the lives and careers of millions of students each year are available for scrutiny. The testing industry should not be allowed to circumvent these important requirements simply by changing the technology through which their exams are administered."


The Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) Board both lobbied strenuously against having the law cover computerized exams. In addition to restating their position that such provisions were preempted by federal copyright law, the test-makers asserted that disclosure would "threaten the integrity and security of the computerized GRE." That claim seems hollow in light of a late-1994 incident in which the Stanley Kaplan test preparation company demonstrated that it is very easy to obtain GRE items (see Examiner, Winter 1994-95).


Supporters hope the Assembly will be able to consider the computer Truth-in-Testing bill in a special session this fall.