June 07, 2011
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) has issued a strong warning against cheating to candidates after a student from China revealed to SBS Mandarin News Australia how he was paid to sit the English language immigration test for others.
The TV station found evidence of an emerging black market service that falsifies everything international students need to get permanent residency in Australia: from organising fake passports to finding a substitute to sit their English exam for them. Those offering the service allegedly contact the 'substitute' students directly, using a popular Chinese instant messaging program. SBS Mandarin found the IELTS substitution was almost an open secret.
In related news, Curtin University has told a West Australia anti-corruption hearing that it is considering closing its IELTS business following an incident in which a Curtin staff member, Keith Low, used IELTS software to fix results for students in exchange for cash. Curtin representatives told the hearing that IELTS software often crashed, causing log-in problems that in turn led their staff staff to share passwords, leading to security lapses.
Professor Hackett of Curtin criticized the former monopoly that required those wishing to study in Australia have an IELTS score: "If there had been more competition . . . it may have been necessary for [IELTS owner] Cambridge to progress faster in their software development."
The Australian government recently approved the Pearson Test of English Academic and the TOEFL for student visa purposes.
• Full statement from IELTS warning fraudsters
• English language test authority warns cheaters
• Curtin University may decide IELTS too risky
• Australia accepts Pearson Test of English
• Australia accepts TOEFL
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