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Cheating Allegations Delay SAT Results for S. Korea, China

FILE - Students leave after a Scholastic Assessment Tests (SAT) exam at AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong, Nov. 2, 2013.

The organization that conducts a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States is withholding test scores for thousands of South Korean and Chinese students over concerns of cheating.

Educational Testing Service, which developed the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), said in a statement that it has received "specific, reliable information" about possible cheating during tests given on October 11.

The statement, issued in conjunction with the College Board that administers the test, said the organizations take seriously any attempt to violate testing and security policies. It also strongly denounced "organizations that seek to illegally obtain test materials for their own profit."

Lee Bohm, a former education policy adviser in South Korea, tells VOA there are concerns that the delay in releasing the test results could disrupt students' college applications.

"There are many [South Korean] students who are planning to apply American universities with the SAT score. Some of them might have utilized the leaked test questions but most of them are trying to apply universities by normally taking the test. These students who did not use the leaked test questions can become victims [as they have suddenly informed that] they cannot get the test result soon," said Lee Bohm.

ETS said the investigation may take up to four weeks, but said the results should be released in time for college application deadlines, many of which are in November.

It is not the first time that allegations of cheating on the SAT have arisen in East Asia, where students sometimes attend training centers that give them the test questions in advance.

In May of 2013, SAT testing in South Korea was canceled after the test questions were leaked. Testing at many locations in China has also been stopped over accusations of cheating.

(VOA Seoul Producer Youmi Kim contributed to this report from Seoul.)