ACT continues to partner with test-prep operators despite reports of cheating

Widespread cheating at licensed overseas education centers

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Standardized testing giant ACT Inc. of Iowa City continues to partner with Asian test-preparation operators, despite widespread cheating at overseas education centers it licenses.

The maker of America’s most popular college entrance exam approved South Korea’s Seoul Scholars International school to administer the ACT test this year, Reuters found, even though the school is owned by a company that offers test-preparation services.

That company’s test-prep center says on one of its websites that its students achieve “astonishing” increases in their ACT scores.

In the past year, ACT also has licensed a Chinese company to operate an “ACT Club” to promote the test in China. Reuters found that the club offers ACT test-prep classes. And the website of the company that licensed the club makes this pledge to clients: “100 percent admission to famous overseas universities, or your money back.”

According to its website, ACT Club has an exclusive arrangement with the University of Macau to begin offering students the ACT exam next month. The club and the university declined to answer questions about their relationship.

ACT officials said in June that centers where the exam is given are not allowed to offer commercial test-preparation services. Doing so could give the operators of cram schools an unparalleled ability to help their clients by showing them the test ahead of time.

The next administration of the ACT is scheduled this Saturday.

ACT spokesman Ed Colby declined to explain why the Iowa-based not-for-profit is allowing the South Korean school to offer the ACT, given the school’s corporate ties to a test-prep center.

Colby said ACT Club and its parent company, Beijing EduGlobal Development Company Ltd., “are forbidden to be involved in administration of the ACT test.”

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