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Five Things You Didn’t Know About Test Security at ETS
attached file : e Newsletter AAPBS_Template 2022 October ETS GRE.docx

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Test Security at ETS

Maintaining the security of our assessments at ETS has been a decades-long endeavor. As testing has moved from paper and pencil to computer based, and from test center to at home, the transformation of the testing industry has been profound. With this evolution comes the need to envision security in new and different ways and that we are continuously doing everything necessary, and then some, to stay ahead of those who attempt to cheat and harm the integrity of our tests.

As complex as the test security field can be, here are five things you may not know (but should) about test security at ETS:

ETS’s Office of Testing Integrity (OTI) has been combatting test fraud and cheating for over 64 years.

In coordination with highly trained proctors, AI technologies and data analysis, the team works to analyze scores and testing sessions that are suspected of having been earned or conducted unfairly and, as a result, cancel test scores, should evidence warrant doing so.

ETS has invested billions of dollars over the last 6 decades in test security and technology infrastructure to combat cheating.




We are investing to further our technological capabilities and improve test security measures to catch even the most minute forms of cheating. These capabilities and improvements include but are certainly not limited to: continued remote access software (RAS) prevention using ETS proprietary expertise and capabilities; enhancing machine learning models to continue to detect dishonest test-taking behaviors; the development of new and refinement of existing statistical evaluation models; and continued research on new item types and assessment design approaches.

ETS can, and does, cancel test scores — even after they are released to test takers and institutions.

When ETS has evidence that a test taker’s scores may have been earned unfairly — a violation of our testing policy — OTI can hold scores from being released to further evaluate the testing session and score earned to determine whether those scores should be canceled.

Cheating on standardized assessments is not unique to ETS.

Cheating is an industrywide issue which has been spotlighted by the boom of the remote testing industry over the last 2 years. Although it is not frequently discussed within the education sector, we owe it to our stakeholders to keep them informed of what we are seeing, how we are addressing concerns and our plans for the future. Unreliable scores have implications for unprepared students who cannot meet the rigor of higher education programs and in turn have negative impacts on hard-earned institutional reputations.

At home assessments have contributed to an increase in cheating attempts among test takers.

With the new delivery model of at home testing, ETS has seen a more than 200% increase in score cancellations across both TOEFL® and GRE® test administrations combined in our second year of at home testing (FY21) compared to the first year (FY20). Although this increase has occurred, this does not mean we have waned in our vigilance. In fact, quite the opposite is true, which is evidenced by our ability to identify fraudulent activity and cancel scores after thorough analysis and investigations have taken place. While there are more attempts at cheating, by default, more scores are being cancelled.

By Ray Nicosia a Principal, Test Security in the Office of Testing Integrity at ETS.


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