Officials from the College Board and ACT Inc. said that any additional costs would be absorbed and not passed on to students. The College Board charges $49 for the SAT; ACT Inc. charges $34 for the basic test, $49.50 if it includes a writing exam.
“We believe these measures support both test integrity and access and equity for all students,” said Kathryn Juric, vice president of the SAT program for the College Board.
During the 2010-11 school year, nearly 3 million students worldwide took the SAT; 1.6 million students took the ACT in 2011.
In another key change, students will be required to identify on their application the high school they attend. In the Long Island scandal, the impostors often went to high schools in neighboring communities so they would not be recognized.
Bob Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing, a longtime critic of the SAT, said the new procedures still would not prevent cheating if a student submitted an impostor’s photograph.
“The image on the registration form will match up with that of the person taking the exam so long as an equally phony ID is used at the test site,” he said.
But Rice argued that the follow-up report to the student’s high school, with the photograph, should deter most cheating.
“Knowing that’s going to be going back to their high schools, specifically their guidance counselor, that’s the backup check that’s going to prevent it from happening,” Rice said. She also said the photos would be kept in a database should any questions of cheating arise later.
In addition, administrators will check student IDs more frequently at test centers. IDs will be examined when students enter a test site, whenever they re-enter the test room after breaks, and again when the answer sheets are collected.
Students will have to upload the photo of themselves or else mail it in.
Vivian Tam, a 17-year-old senior at the LaGuardia School for the Performing Arts High School in New York, welcomed the changes.
“Some people are getting better grades because they have more money to pay somebody to take the test for them,” she said.