Education News in Brief

Former College Board SAT Designer Drawn Into FBI Probe

By Catherine Gewertz — September 13, 2016 1 min read

A former College Board official who had a lead role in designing the new SAT—and then became an ardent critic of the process—has become part of an FBI investigation into possible security breaches in the college-entrance exam. Documents outlining his role appear to have been put under court seal.

Manuel Alfaro, who was the executive director of assessment design and development at the College Board when he was fired in February 2015, wrote in a post on his LinkedIn account on Aug. 27 that the FBI searched his Maryland home the previous day and seized computer equipment. The search came after months of public accusations by Alfaro on LinkedIn and Twitter that the College Board skipped important steps in the process in developing items for the new SAT, resulting in a test that was not up to industry standards. The College Board has strongly denied Alfaro’s claims, calling them “baseless.”

The news agency Reuters reported that the FBI raid was part of an investigation into computer intrusion and theft against an unidentified “victim corporation” involving “confidential or proprietary information,” including tests, test forms, and internal emails. In a story published Aug. 3, Reuters revealed that it had obtained about 400 unpublished questions from the newly redesigned SAT. Reuters said it got the items from “a person with access to material for upcoming versions of the redesigned exam.”

Alfaro’s central argument is that the College Board often skipped an important part of the test design: review by an external panel at two key points in the process. Alfaro says that sometimes items weren’t reviewed by the external panel until they were already assembled into final test forms.

He also argues that the College Board is misrepresenting its test to seven states that use it as their federally required accountability test when it claims that it designed the exam according to industry standards and its own publicly stated process.

College Board spokesman Zach Goldberg told Reuters after the FBI search at Alfaro’s home that the College Board is “pleased that this crime is being pursued aggressively.”

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read