English tests for UK visas suspended after BBC reveals fraud

Seems being responsible for the awful TOEIC tests is the least of ETS’s sins:

Students visa fraud exposed in BBC investigation

Student visa English tests suspended over fraud claims

More on ETS and their products on TEFLtastic:

ETS is crap

Rumours about TOEIC

Five more reasons to hate ETS

TOEIC – the Test of English for International what???

The truth about TOEFL

ETS to introduce new exam for teachers

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6 Responses to English tests for UK visas suspended after BBC reveals fraud

  1. Daniel says:

    Yay! Maybe this will help boost the UK economy since they will probably switch to Cambridge / British Council exams instead of using some worthless automated American English one! Wouldn’t it be even funnier if Cambridge / British Councils were in on it?! 😉

  2. Daniel says:

    One more thing, since IELTS and the British Council exams have a bit more human interaction and control. How likely do you think it is that there are corrupt examiners who are willing to give answers for a price or special “favors” in the ELT world?

  3. alexcase says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by British Council exams, because they don’t have any publically offered ones, and the BULATS-style one they offer to organisations can’t be used for immigration purposes as far as I’m aware:

    As far as IELTS goes, what happened in this story seems unlikely because:
    – nowadays all tests in a country are usually organised by large and well-known national organisation like Eiken in Japan and (I seem to remember) Samsung in Korea, rather than by smaller organisations like schools.
    – those organisations and the oral examiners check the ID
    – you’d have to bribe the oral examiner in the 12 minute period of the exam and hope they say yes rather than dob you in, and then what would happen with the recording of the test??

    However, I have a feeling IELTS have had such worries, because when they briefly ran IELTS online it was specifically in countries where they might have been worried about locals selling access to the test papers in advance:

  4. Daniel says:

    Interesting indeed. Well, I think the Cambridge exams like CAE, CPE, etc would be more difficult to do, but I don’t see what would make it impossible. I live in Russia, surely somewhere, this has to have happened at least once. I think there would be plenty of people ready to even pay thousands of dollars for a perfect test result.

    Also, I’ve seen several websites now that are willing to print you up official-looking test scores or even CELTA or DELTA certificates. Some of them even ask for up to 150 dollars although I’m sure you could probably negotiate them down to $20 to $30. I wonder if it’s the work of some pimpled pre-teen or some sweat shop in Asia. Kids are pretty good with Photoshop these days.

    I wonder just how much of the UK’s GDP comes from the commercialization of the English language including courses, tutoring, language courses, and exams. I mean, I’m not complaining, it’s my bread and butter too, but I sometimes wonder whether it’s Raymond Murphey who is the new guy on the block building the world’s biggest yacht and not that rich Chinese guy.

  5. Sean Mitchell says:

    Think I’m in the wrong job. Instead of teaching English I should be an examiner taking bribes – it obviously pays more.

  6. alexcase says:

    It was a bit more complex than that if you read the story – the exam centres were actually organising the whole thing, issuing whole groups of examinees out of the room so that other people could take their places at the exam computers. Obviously ETS shouldn’t have both checked the people more carefully and had something to check when the exams were actually going on. All that would have cut into their profit margins though…

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