Students who took the October ACT in Asia recently learned that their writing scores have been canceled. And why? The regular readers of our college admissions blog probably guessed it. There was cheating, once again, in Asia. Yes, once again. Because it’s not the first time an ACT (or a section of the ACT in this case) has been canceled in Asia. It’s not the first time this year.
As reported by Steve Stecklow for “Reuters” in a piece about the canceled ACT Writing scores, “The incident comes just months after ACT Inc, the Iowa-based nonprofit that operates the test, was forced to cancel its exam for all takers in South Korea and Hong Kong. That incident, in June, marked the first time the high-stakes exam was canceled for an entire country. ACT spokesman Ed Colby declined to say how many students were affected by the October score cancellations, which he said involved test centers in Asia and Oceania. He described the incident as the result of ‘a compromise in the testing process’ and said the affected students ‘amounted to only a small portion of examinees in the region.’ Affected students for the October score cancellation received a message from ACT that stated: ‘Unfortunately, events occurred which compromised the testing process for the writing portion of your test event. As a result, you will not receive a score for your writing test response/essay. Your multiple choice ACT tests—English, mathematics, reading, and science tests—WILL be scored.'”
What measures will ACT be taking in the months ahead to improve security, to ensure that future administrations of the exam won’t be canceled because of incidences of cheating.
ACT, always gracious, told the students they’d receive a $16 refund for the cancelation. Gee thanks, ACT. Perhaps more time and resources should be devoted by the Iowa-based nonprofit to ensuring that these kinds of incidences stop recurring. Two cancelations in the span of a few months is outrageous. We’d like to know what ACT is doing to ensure that students — no matter what part of the world they live in — can take exams without having to worry of their subsequent cancelation? Because the vast majority of test-takers, including in Asia, are honest students and it’s not right that some of them now can’t submit writing scores for the ACT to their Early schools, if they didn’t have writing scores from previous administrations of the ACT already.
So, ACT, what corrective action is being taken to reassure young people across Asia and around the world that they can count on taking the exam without having to worry about it being canceled because of some unethical folks out there.