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SAT score delays affect thousands

Updated: 2014-12-01 07:32
By Luo Wangshu (China Daily)

Test provider delayed results because of investigation into alleged cheating

Although more than 100,000 students from the Chinese mainland head to undergraduate programs in the United States each year, there is nowhere on the Chinese mainland for Chinese students to take the Scholastic Assessment Test, a standard examination widely used when applying for US universities.

During examination months, such students, like migratory birds, fly to neighboring regions and countries, including Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, to sit for the test that might determine their future.

However, on Oct 28, when that month's SAT scores were to be released, thousands of students from the Chinese mainland and the Republic of Korea were notified their scores had been delayed by the Educational Testing Service, the examination provider of the College Board.

ETS explained later that the delay resulted from an ongoing investigation into possible cheating.

Previously, the College Board disregarded all SAT scores for May in South Korea due to allegations that questions had been leaked, affecting some 1,500 students.

A month after the October scores were withheld, most had been released.

As a result of the administrative review, the College Board and ETS have released the majority of Oct 11 SAT scores directly to the test-takers in China and South Korea, the ETS said in a statement last week.

"A limited number of test-takers had an unfair advantage on the test. ETS is contacting these test-takers directly to inform them that their scores cannot be released", the statement said.

The test provider also said: "The scores of a small set of test-takers remain under review. These test-takers will be notified when the review is completed."

The investigation continues as students enter the busy application season.

Although the ETS did not specify how many test-takers were involved, an educational consultant in Beijing said thousands of students from the Chinese mainland and South Korea were affected.

About 8,000 students did not receive their scores on time, said Li Nannan, a senior consultant with New Oriental education and technology group, one of the country's largest overseas study training providers.

Li said she has contacted the top 50 US universities and the majority are aware of the delay and willing to accept the October score.

Yan Xiaozhe, director of the US Undergraduate Department of Vision Overseas under the New Oriental group, said: "The early admission deadline at the majority of universities in the United States is Nov 1. If the scores are released on time in October, students who apply for early admission can choose schools more accurately."

"Two to three years ago, SAT scores played an important role during applications. However, in the past two years, soft power, including awards and AP course results, are more critical," Yan said.

A 18-year-old Beijing high school senior surnamed Zhang said she wished to apply to Harvard or Brown universities, and the delay gave her no basis for her choice.

"I have been dreaming of Harvard since I was a little girl, but my last SAT score was not good enough. I took the October test, hoping to gain a better score to get to my dream school," she said.


(China Daily 12/01/2014 page4)

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