June 13, 2016 10:54
The ACT test for college admission in the U.S. has been abruptly canceled in Korea and Hong Kong after test materials were "breached," the administrator said Sunday.
According to the AP, the cancellation affected about 5,500 students who had been scheduled to take the test at 56 venues. ACT spokesman Ed Colby said in an e-mailed statement, "ACT has just received credible evidence that test materials intended for administration in these regions have been compromised."
ACT said students will get refunds on their registration fees but it is "not feasible" to reschedule the test. Colby expressed "serious concern" over the leakage but did not elaborate when and how the materials had been leaked, saying merely that the matter is under investigation.
ACT only informed candidates of the cancellation at around 7 a.m. on Saturday, the day they were to sit the test. Some candidates who did not check their e-mails only found out when they arrived at the test center.
Students who plan to apply for early decisions at U.S. universities need to send in their applications by early November. Many expressed frustration. One staffer at an agency that helps students study abroad said, "Some parents are thinking about sending their children to take the test in Japan."
Reuters said Korea and China are "notorious" for cheating on U.S. college entrance exams. In 2013 the SAT test was canceled here over leaked answers, and brokers, owners of private crammers and teachers were arrested on charges of illegally obtaining and exchanging SAT test questions.
The U.S. College Board, which administers the SAT, reduced the number of tests offered in Korea. Just before the latest ACT test there were rumors that test questions were leaked to private crammers in the affluent Gangnam area of southern Seoul.
Education experts said the scandal deals another blow to the credibility of Korean high school graduates at U.S. universities. Around 3,000 U.S. universities let applicants submit either ACT or SAT scores, and the tests are big business for the companies that run them.
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