Britain's home office has suspended the administration of English language tests run by the Princeton, N.J.-based Educational Testing Service after the BBC news program, "Panorama," uncovered “systematic fraud” at British test centers. As summarized in this BBC article, Panorama recorded instances of Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) examinees being replaced by “fake-sitters” who completed the test for them, and of a proctor reading the correct answers aloud to test takers. The news program followed a network of agents who help bogus students from outside the European Union pass the TOEIC, a government-approved English test for immigration purposes, and otherwise obtain student visa extensions fraudulently.
Thomas A. Ewing, an ETS spokesman, told Inside Higher Ed via email that the issues seem to involve two TOEIC testing centers and that the government’s suspension of TOEIC and Test of English as a Foreign Language exams within the U.K. will not affect test-takers elsewhere in the world. “When testing on a global basis, no test provider can claim 100 percent prevention or detection of fraudulent activity, but ETS does everything it can to detect and prevent rare instances of dishonest test administrators or test takers,” an ETS statement read, in part.