eNews Update
October 2011

The TOEFL iBT® Test — Secure Results You Can Trust

Test integrity has become a common topic within the academic community. ETS takes test security very seriously and executes a three-pronged approach that includes prevention, detection and communication to ensure secure and fair testing worldwide. Our protocols represent a wide spectrum of measures, many of which are confidential and cover student verification, surveillance in the test center and post-test analysis.

5 Ways ETS Prevents Fraud

For over 60 years, ETS, the global leader in educational assessment, has developed and executed various state-of-the-art procedures to prevent testing and scoring fraud. These can be seen from the test design right through to the score reporting process. Here's a summary of the many ways ETS has taken steps to ensure the integrity of test scores.

  1. Using the Highest Standards to Create Test Content

    ETS creates thousands of new test questions each year to ensure that items are fresh and to reduce the risk of memorization and cheating.

  2. Establishing Secure Test Centers

    Test administrations occur at Certified Test Administration Sites (CTAS). Each CTAS undergoes a rigorous process through ETS to ensure testing security, including reference checks and training of test center staff.

  3. Ensuring the Training of Test Center Administrators

    In addition to thoroughly training test center staff in managing test administrations, ETS makes unannounced visits to test centers to observe and ensure that the highest standards are being applied.

  4. Instituting and Enforcing Test-Taker Rules and Requirements

    On the day of the test, test takers have to go through several security requirements in order to test. Test takers must not only provide secure forms of identification, but also submit handwriting, voice and signature samples and be photographed at the test center on the day of testing. In some locations, we monitor with video cameras, require test takers to provide a thumb scan and even submit to metal detector scans.

  5. Maintaining the Quality of Scoring and Score Reporting

    Scoring does not occur at the test center. ETS separates the scoring process from the testing process, which eliminates many security issues. Additionally, ETS uses specially developed secure paper for TOEFL score reports with several security features including a chain-link watermark on the back of the paper, which is visible when held at a 45-degree angle.

For more information on fraud prevention, visit our website.

Implementing Safeguards to Detect Fraud

Reported incidents of fraud are taken seriously and investigated closely. Investigation of test takers can include photographic review, voice and handwriting analysis, and score analysis. ETS closely monitors all test centers and tracks all security incidents. If it is determined that a test center does not meet ETS standards, and it fails to correct the issue, it is closed.

Statistical analysis methods are used to help detect possible cases of cheating. ETS's Statistical Analysis team monitors score trends by test center, country and region to detect cheating. Software is used to detect large score differences or significant changes in scores for repeat test takers. Other techniques are used to look for issues at the test center or regional level.

For more information on fraud prevention, visit our website.

Communicating with Institutions

ETS works very closely with the institutions we serve around the world. ETS informs institutions that have been designated as score recipients when scores have been cancelled. In addition, any concerns regarding test results can be reported by the institution and will be investigated.

In the academic community, we are all dealing with a world where motivation and capability to commit academic and admissions cheating is on the rise. ETS will continue adopting best practices and creating new technologies to prevent and detect fraud. ETS always keeps institutions informed whenever improper behavior by students or test sites is discovered.

ETS is committed to securing the results you can trust.

For more information on how we keep institutions informed about security issues, visit our website.

If you have any security questions or concerns, please contact us at TSReturns@ets.org or call our Security Hotline at 1-800-750-6991 (US) or +1-609-406-5430 (all other locations).

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