College Board Targets SAT Loophole in Bid to Avert Cheating

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The Man Behind the SAT Defends New Adversity Score

The man behind the SAT said he had “closed the loophole” that college counselor William Singer drove a truck through in the biggest U.S. admissions scandal ever prosecuted.

Asked by “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King whether the College Board had changed the way it runs the college entrance exam in reaction to the scam, Chief Executive Officer David Coleman said it would be “much more careful” with the “small environments we designed for students who need accommodations and who have special needs, and that was exploited here,” and make sure “identity is proven several times over.”

Students with attention deficit disorder and certain other learning disabilities can apply for extra time in which to take the SAT. The test is widely used, along with the ACT, as an important factor in college admissions.

Singer is accused of taking in millions of dollars from 33 parents to get their children into elite schools by bribing sports coaches and fixing the kids’ SATs. He used the extra-time accommodation so his clients’ children could take their exams at a test center under his control, where their answers were corrected or replaced with those chosen by an accomplice, prosecutors allege.

Singer pleaded guilty and cooperated with the Justice Department’s investigation, Operation Varsity Blues, in hopes of a lesser sentence. The government hasn’t charged any colleges, students or test makers.

“Yeah, we cooperated with federal authorities in the scandal and closed the loophole that was used,” Coleman said in the interview this morning. “So the safest place and most secure place to take the SAT turns out to be at your own school.”

Coleman is making the rounds to promote a new, extra index meant to reflect challenges such as the crime and poverty rates in the student’s neighborhood and high school. Inevitably, though, questions about the scandal come up.

“We can solve the security problem,” Coleman said. “But I think the deep anxiety in the Varsity Blues case is, A, let’s crack down on cheating, and I’m all for it. We will keep working with authorities, and you’ll be hearing more on that.”

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