New security measures for the SAT & ACT

By: Judi Robinovitz | Last Updated: June 20, 2012

There are several security-related changes to the registration process for both the SAT and ACT (quoted from their websites below). The gist of these changes is:

  • All scores will be reported to the student’s high school; thus, Florida public-school students cannot automatically prevent scores from being posted to their transcripts. Whether it will be possible to have selected scores removed from a transcript remains to be seen.
  • SAT will no longer allow for stand-by testing
  • ACT will require 4-day-advance registration for stand-by testing
  • Both tests will require a passport-like photo at the time of registration (in addition to the picture ID presented at the test center)
  • Students’ identification will be checked more carefully than ever on test day


The following enhanced security measures will be implemented during the 2012-13 academic year and apply to students participating in any of the seven national and six international SAT and SAT Subject Tests™ administrations that take place during a given academic year:

Registration Enhancements:

  • Students will be required to provide the name of their attending high school during registration. Once SAT registration opens for the 2012-13 school year, registrations submitted without attending high school will not be processed.
  • Students will be required to submit a current, recognizable photo during registration that will be included on a new photo admission ticket.
    • Students registering online will be required to upload a digital photo.
    • Students registering by mail will be required to enclose a photo with the paper registration form.
  • Students who want to take the SAT at a different test center than the one designated during registration will be required to request such a change prior to test day. Test center changes will no longer be permitted on test day.
  • Students who want to change the type of test they intend to take (i.e., SAT rather than SAT Subject Tests or vice versa) must do so in advance. Test-type changes will no longer be permitted on test day.

Test-Day Enhancements:

  • Students will be required to preregister for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests. Standby (walk-in) testing will no longer be permitted.
  • Students will be required to test at the center designated on their admission ticket. Test center changes will no longer be permitted on test day.
  • Students will be required to present their photo admission ticket for admittance to their designated test center.
    • Students who registered online will be able to print out their admission ticket by logging onto their online College Board account.
    • Students who registered by mail can choose to have the admission ticket mailed or emailed prior to test day.
  • Students arriving at the test center without both their photo admission ticket and an acceptable form of photo ID will not be admitted to the test center.
  • The Test Center Supervisor rosters used to admit test-takers to the test center will include each test-taker’s:
    • First and last name
    • Date of birth
    • Gender
    • Test type (SAT or SAT Subject Tests)
    • Attending high school
  • Test center supervisors also will have access to a printable on-line register of the photos uploaded during registration for each student registered to test at that test center.
  • Test-takers will be subject to additional ID checks throughout test day. Test-takers will be required to present both their photo admission ticket and an acceptable form of photo ID:
    • Upon entry to test center
    • Upon entry to their test room
    • Upon reentry to their test room following breaks
    • Upon collection of their answer sheet
  • Test-takers will be required to sign a more comprehensive certification statement on the SAT answer sheet:
    • Attesting to the accuracy of the information provided on their admission ticket and answer sheet
    • Agreeing to comply with all test security and fairness policies
    • Acknowledging that engaging in impersonation could result in referral to law enforcement and prosecution

Post-Test-Day Enhancements:

  • High schools will automatically receive scores for all test-takers enrolled at that high school.
  • A registration data repository will be created containing the information and photo provided by the test-taker at the time of registration and used to produce the photo admission ticket required for test center admittance. High schools, colleges and universities, and other institutions that receive SAT scores will have access to the repository, as will the ETS Office of Testing Integrity. The registration data repository will not include test scores.


The following enhancements will safeguard a level playing field for all test takers and help ensure the continued integrity of ACT score results:

  • Students will upload or otherwise submit (via ACT website, smart phone, or mail) a recognizable head-and-shoulders photo of themselves at the time they register—online or by mail—for the ACT.
  • The photo will be printed on the student's ticket, which the student will be required to bring to the test center. Students who fail to bring their ticket will not be admitted to the test.
  • The student's photo will also be printed on the examinee roster that testing staff use to check in students on test day.
  • In addition to their ticket, students will be required to bring and present an acceptable photo ID on test day.
  • On test day, test center staff will match the name and photo on the student’s admission ticket, the examinee roster, and the student’s photo ID to the student who arrives to take the test before granting the student admission. Test center staff may also check the student’s identification throughout the test session.
  • In addition to submitting a photo, students will provide ACT with their gender and with the name of the high school they attend. ACT will use this information to help match the examinee’s identity throughout the testing process.
  • Both before and after testing, students will provide written affirmation that they are the person whose name appears on the test booklet and answer sheet which they have submitted. They will also acknowledge that assuming anyone else’s identity to take the test may be a violation of law and be subject to legal penalty.
  • ACT may visit test centers to conduct enhanced test security procedures on test day, including collecting images of examinees during check-in and/or other security activities.
  • After tests have been scored, the student’s photo will be printed on the score report that will be automatically sent to the high school attended by the student. Score integrity can then be reinforced by the people who know the students best—the teachers and counselors at their schools.
  • Standby testing will still be an option, but changes will be made in that process as well. Students will no longer be able to simply show up on test day and take the ACT. They will need to register their intent to test on a standby basis ahead of time, most likely by the Wednesday before the test date. Standby test takers will be required to follow the same procedures as all other test takers, including providing a photo to ACT prior to test day and presenting a standby ticket that includes that photo.
  • When the new procedures are in place, students’ score reports will be sent to their high school automatically; students will no longer have an option to withhold their scores.

Topics: ACT/SAT

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