Photo Identification Now Required for Students Taking ACT, SAT

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COLUMBIA - Local high school students will have to present photo identification when taking college entrance exams starting next fall.

According to the Associated Press, a New York prosecutor recently charged 20 current and former high school students in a cheating scheme where students paid others to take college entrance exams. The College Board, which runs the ACT and SAT entrance exams, placed a photo identification requirement for all students taking these tests nationwide.

Students will have to register for the ACT or SAT exams and, as part of registration, submit a photo that includes the student's face. If students are unable to upload a photo online, they can choose to mail in a photograph.

Also, after finishing registration, students will receive a ticket to present at the testing site to get inside the doors. The ticket will have a scanned copy of the photograph printed on it.

Once inside the testing facilities, students will have to present a photo ID to be paired against a copy of the original photograph that is printed on the test roster. Students are subject to these requirements in an attempt to curb cheating scandals like the recent developments in New York.

Bryndyn Crutcher teaches Math at Father Tolton High School. He has proctored ACT tests in the past. He says he has never run into any instances of cheating because the percentage of students who cheat is slim.

"If it's enough percentage that they want to do something about it then it's fine. As long as they aren't making things unbearable for the kids to get everything in.They're already stressed out about taking the exam," Crutcher said.

Tom Scharenborg works as a professor at William Woods University. He also teaches ACT preparatory courses at The Focus Learning Center in Columbia. He has been helping students with college entrance exams for five years.

Scharenborg is in favor of the new photo identification requirement.

"I like the layers of security. I think it's absolutely perfect. If it were up to me I would do thumb prints and retinal scans in addition to just a photo," Scharenborg said.

Michelle Baumstark, a representative of Columbia Public Schools, said in an e-mail she is unaware of any cheating problem in Columbia.