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08-08-2002, 04:13 PM
CNN News

Probe finds GRE answers posted on Web
August 8, 2002 Posted: 1:23 PM EDT (1723 GMT)



PRINCETON, New Jersey (AP) -- Computer-based versions of the Graduate Record Examination will be suspended in four Asian countries after a yearlong investigation uncovered Asian-language Web sites with answers to the test.

Current and past questions from the graduate admissions exam were illegally obtained by test takers and displayed on Web sites based in China and Korea, according to the Educational Testing Service, which administers the test.

The investigation found that the average verbal scores in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea had risen significantly. Test officials attribute the rise to the Web sites, which were written in Chinese and Korean.

"We looked at score changes in 40 countries and noticed a significant rise in only these countries," said Carole A. Beere, the chairwoman of the GRE board.

Only the paper version of the GRE General Test will be available in the four countries on the next two testing dates: November 23, 2002, and March 15, 2003. The change is expected to affect more than 55,000 students each year.

ETS would not reveal when the answers were posted on the Internet nor when it noticed scores increasing.

"Every year we'd get someone from China who had high verbal scores on the GRE then had little or no knowledge of English when he got to the classroom," added Howard Lijestrand, graduate adviser at the University of Texas.

Bob Schaeffer of Fair Test, which monitors standardized testing, is pleased the computer version of test will be suspended in the four countries. But he said it is only a matter of time before U.S. applicants find out about the Web sites.

The GRE is taken annually by more than 400,000 applicants to graduate programs in the arts, humanities, sciences and engineering.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

08-08-2002, 06:56 PM
So, they are going to cancel the CBT GRE and offer only the paper-based test only twice a year now in China, Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

That's really going to hurt a lot of people. :(


08-08-2002, 07:06 PM
From the New York Times

Officials Link Foreign Web Sites to Cheating on Exams


n undetermined number of students in China, Taiwan and South Korea were able to raise their scores substantially last year on the verbal part of the most widely used entrance exam to American graduate schools by logging on to Web sites in those countries that post questions and answers memorized by previous test takers, test administrators said yesterday.

After uncovering the Chinese- and Korean-language Web sites and assessing their effect on scores, test administrators suspended the electronic version of the tests, known as the Graduate Record Examinations, which have been taken by 55,000 students annually in those countries since the late 1990's. Because the tests were given at testing centers six days a week, the questions were regularly reused, making the tests susceptible to such cheating.

Now, the test will be given in those three countries only two days a year, in November and March, and on paper, to guard the security of the questions, which will be used only once. Testing officials said they had not found a similar problem in any other country, including the United States.

An investigation, by the Educational Testing Service, which designs the exam, was prompted in part by the concerns of some American college deans that the high verbal scores of some Asian students did not match their English fluency.

Worldwide, nearly a half-million students a year take the exams, which measure verbal and math skills. Testing officials said they did not know how many of the students in China, South Korea and Taiwan had cheated but that it would have taken a substantial number to cause the average scores to increase as much as they did.

In China, for example, the average score on the verbal section of the exam rose 100 points in a period examined last year, on a scale of 200 to 800, testing officials said. In South Korea and Taiwan, the scores increased by 50 points.

Though the tests given in those countries often draw on the same pool of questions as the exams in given in the United States, which are also administered electronically nearly every day, testing officials said that they had not uncovered similar Web sites or unusual gains anywhere else. Testing officials said that the Web sites were probably the work of students, not bootleg businesses.

Still, Carole Beere, the chairwoman of the Graduate Record Examinations Board, which oversees the tests, said, "We are now monitoring the Web very aggressively."

Tom Ewing, a spokesman for the Educational Testing Service, said the company had rarely come upon evidence of such sophisticated, coordinated efforts to disseminate its questions and answers. In 1996, a California man was charged with recruiting people on the East Coast to take standardized tests, including the Graduate Management Admission Test, which most business schools require, only to relay the answers to students on the West Coast, in part by using pencils on which the answers were written in code.

More recently, Mr. Ewing said, the service discovered that a question on a high school Advanced Placement exam was being circulated among students via e-mail.

Though Dr. Beere said she remained confident in the validity of the exam in the United States and elsewhere, some critics argued that the breach uncovered in Asia was but one sign of the perils of administering standardized tests in the age of the Internet and of putting too much stock in the results of any test.

"It's not called the World Wide Web for no reason," said Robert A. Schaeffer, the public education director for the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, an advocacy group. "Those sites, even if they exist in another language, are accessible to students in the U.S. as well as in China. And there are many students in the U.S. who speak Chinese."

Dr. Beere said that this year her board had ordered a far-ranging investigation of the validity of test results in 40 countries, including the United States, and had found evidence of cheating in only those three.

Testing officials said the computerized exams drew on a rotating series of questions, often different for students taking the exam next to each other. After a certain period which the testing service refused to disclose, but is believed to be at least several weeks a question is removed from the pool permanently.

Testing officials said they were able to confirm the cheating by noting that the scores on certain questions had risen significantly the longer the question was in circulation.

Dr. Beere reported the results of the investigation to deans at more than 1,000 graduate schools in a letter mailed late last week. Its contents were first described yesterday in an online edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

In the letter, Dr. Beere, who is also the associate provost for graduate studies and outreach at Northern Kentucky University, said the board would work to "restore the confidence and trust that you have in the scores from applicants in the affected regions."

She also reminded her colleagues to view the scores of any applicant in the context of the entire application.

12-08-2002, 12:07 AM
I wonder how cancelling the Computer based version of GRE is going to solve the problem of cheating ,since' Web sites in those countries post questions and answers memorized by previous test takers, test administrators ,etc' and test takers can still continue to do that for paper based GRE too!

12-08-2002, 12:38 AM
The PBT is new and different each time. The CBT draws from a large bank of questions (so that it can be adaptive), which stays the same for three or four months. From what I recall, have read, and remember, ETS has said that CBT questions have a life span of three to four months. PBT question appear once only.