July 16, 2008
For all the weight that high schools and colleges place on the ACT and SAT, they're in the dark about why students' scores are sometimes "cancelled." That's because of a 25-year-old policy whereby neither ACT nor the College Board will divulge the reason to a student's current or future school. It doesn't matter if the pupil has an upset stomach or was part of an elaborate and premeditated cheating scheme--each reason is simply reported as an innocuous cancellation. "What we're trying to do is make sure the scores that we send to colleges are valid. It's not our intention to go around punishing students who make mistakes or who've done something they shouldn't have done," said ACT's Ed Colby. Those words, translated to the real world, mean that several Los Angeles students who are suspected of paying their mutual buddy to take the ACT for them will have their scores canceled, but neither their high school nor their intended universities will learn of this unethical behavior. Is that as it should be? Isn't cheating just as important as a test score? The testing outfits' policy doesn't reflect the values that high schools strive to teach and that (we hope) colleges strive to identify in the students they admit.
"Cheating on ACT, SAT college entrance exams has few consequences," by Carla Rivera, Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2008