The PIE News has checked in with an update on the English Testing Scandal of 2014.  It describes the utter ruination of Sabtain Umer’s life after he (along with thousands of others) was accused of cheating on the TOEIC test.

The accusations (read more) were based on evidence produced by ETS that was later described as “confused, misleading, incomplete and unsafe” by an all-party parliamentary group created to investigate the scandal.

The chair of that group wrote in the foreword to its report:

“One thing that struck me throughout our hearings was that evidence from ETS – the basis for denying visas to thousands of overseas students, often with catastrophic effects – quite simply could not be relied upon.”

The director of Migrant Voice called the ETS evidence “dodgy” in an earlier report by the PIE News.

Regardless, as I wrote here three months ago:

“97% of all TOEIC administrations in the UK from 2011 to 2014 were deemed suspicious or fraudulent. In the wake of that determination, test-takers were arrested and dragged off to detention centers. Mass deportations followed that. Affected individuals have spent the past decade trying to recover from both the tangible impacts on their lives and the emotional trauma. I’m not exaggerating.”

A few people have fought back and won, but most of the affected test takers have simply suffered in silence.

A decade has passed and though ETS was removed from the list of approved test providers by the Secretary of State, I’m not sure anyone from ETS has taken responsibility for their errors (I know you’re reading this, so correct me if I’m wrong, please).

Situations like Mr. Umer’s are why I continue to write about complaints that current TOEFL test takers have about score cancellations that come without the presentation of evidence and without an opportunity to mount an appeal.  Just a few weeks ago I wrote here about the apparent mass cancellation of scores in Iran and the plans and lives that were thrown into disaray in its wake.

There is an opportunity for those employed at ETS post-2014 to reach out to their longer tenured colleagues (if any remain) to discuss what they learned from this situation and how those learnings can further the organization’s mission to promote and increase equity in education.

I’ll write my own ideas in this space at a later date.  Stay tuned.

If this story is new to you, check out this report from BBC.

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