Maintaining Test Integrity

The entire country just took the PSAT, a practice standardized for the SAT. Anyone familiar with standardized tests remembers the all too familiar phrase: “Do not share or talk about the test with teachers or other students.” However, all over the internet, particularly on the social media site, TikTok, students are openly sharing detailed information about the PSAT. The TikToks mostly involve math problems and reading prompts.

When the PSAT is given, the entire country takes the same test in a different format. “There are four different versions of the test,” said Mr. Gurkin. “They all have the same questions, just in a different order.” Mr. Gurkin manages all standardized tests at Apex High School including the PSAT, SAT, PACT, ACT, and any AP exam at the end of the year. There are serious consequences for sharing details about the test such as cancelation of score. The entire country has the same set of questions, not only because it is a practice exam, but also because the entire country takes the test on the same day. When you receive the testing book back, you will be able to see a date on the book. Mr. Gurkin was only able to administer that test to the school on that specific date. If for some reason we weren’t able to take the test, Mr. Gurkin might have had to send all testing materials back to College Board.

It is Mr. Gurkin’s job to follow procedure and maintain overall test security; individual room administrators and room proctors maintain room security. An example of the rule most commonly broken is accessing your phone during break. Most of the time there is zero intent to be cheating or look up test questions. Bad news is, if caught, it means you are immediately dismissed from the testing area, and you won’t receive a score.

How can we protect test integrity? For starters, talking about the test online is not a good idea. You also shouldn’t talk about the test with other people. However, the best way to protect test integrity is to pay attention to the rules instructed to you at the start of the test and follow them. Ultimately, don’t do anything to jeopardize your future!

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