SAT, ACT to require photo upload with registration

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Senior Surina Gangwani had a slightly different experience than before when she registered for the Oct. 6  SAT.  In addition to the usual requirements, the College Board  website asked her to upload a photo of herself to the application. She did as she was told, but the system did not administer her upload. Gangwani then had to upload a different photo that would fit the requirements.

“The registration—excluding the picture—took me like a minute and a half. The picture took me forever,” Gangwani said. “Finally, I went to Photo Booth, and I took my own photo—which was stupid, because it was the most pixelated one.”

Many more students will have to go through the same procedure as Gangwani. This photo requirement will be fully in effect by March 2013, and all students at that time will be required to upload a photo to register for both the SAT and ACT. Until then, the College Board customer service department said this policy is not mandatory but advisable.

Counselor Stephanie Aikins said the new policy was probably intended to combat cheating and any possible fraud. With a photo of the test-taker on the SAT admission ticket, it should be easier for proctors to identify who is in the testing room.

“You have heard quite a few scandals lately where students have other students taking the test for them and were being paid for that. I think this (policy) is just to prevent any kind of possible fraud,” Aikins said. “The news broke last year where (prosecutors) found that there was a ring going on several years back on the east coast.”

While these policies are designed to ensure authenticity, contention still lies on whether these new measures will improve security.

Senior Grant Goodman, who had similar difficulties to  Gangwani in his registration process, said he doubts that the new policies will make much of a difference.

“If you’re bringing your ID card, it doesn’t make sense for them to have (another photo),” Goodman said. “If you show them your ID, and you look like the person, and the name matches your name, then I don’t see how can people cheat.”

Despite these conflicts, Aikins said the new policy is just another way to uphold the integrity of the tests.

“These tests are so high at stake that students feel a lot of pressure with them and sometimes will go to means that are unfair and break the rules,” she said. “I think this policy now is just to prevent the fraud and prevent any scandals.”

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