Test maker bans some from taking June 1 SAT

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Test maker bans some from taking June 1 SAT

Some Korean students have been forbidden from taking the SATs scheduled for June by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

On Saturday, ETS Korea confirmed that the College Board, the nonprofit U.S. organization responsible for the dreaded but all important SATs, and New Jersey-based ETS sent e-mailed notifications to Korean students who won’t be allowed to take the college admission test for this Saturday for security reasons.

ETS Korea would not discuss specific reasons for its action or how many students received the e-mailed notice.

“We received an e-mail from New Jersey around 11 a.m. on Saturday notifying us of the decision,” said an ETS Korea official. “Students banned from taking the June test can’t take the SATs in other countries that month, but their restriction will be lifted from July.”

The College Board canceled tests in Korea for May and June after hagwon, or cram schools, in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, allegedly leaked questions. Prior to the cancellation, Korea’s Supreme Prosecutors’ Office raided six college-prep hagwon in Gangnam in February on suspicion they were selling questions from SAT tests they got from Southeast Asia, and the College Board canceled the tests in Korea in response to the prosecution’s investigation. It was the first time the organization canceled a round of the college admission tests.

In response to those SAT hagwon irregularities, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said yesterday it will ban those hagwon that are found leaking and selling test questions.

The Seoul Metropolitan Education Office said about 12 SAT hagwon suspected of leaking test questions will be inspected from today through Friday and will be banned from accepting new students and from opening new SAT classes until the prosecution’s investigation is completed. It added that hagwon will be shut if they are found to have ever leaked SAT questions. The education office said it will expand the inspections into all SAT hagwon in Seoul between June and August, the peak time period for students taking SAT classes during summer vacation.

“It’s hard to know how those people who were banned from taking the test in May were selected,” said an official at an SAT hagwon in Gangnam. “We just think that some people older than 20 might have been banned from taking the test.”

By Yoon Seok-man, Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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