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SAT Security To Be Heightened; Testing Services Grilled At State Senate Hearing

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The cheating scandal that rocked Long Island is now impacting students across the country. On Tuesday, during a state Senate hearing on Long Island, it was announced that SAT security will be beefed up.

Lawmakers were blunt as the explosive hearing kicked off examining the security of standardized tests following the highly publicized cheating scandal on Long Island. Six current or former students at Great Neck North High School were arrested last month, charged with paying a seventh student, Sam Eshaghoff, up to up to $2,500 each to take their exams.

The heads of the College Board, and Educational Testing Service were called to the carpet.

"We don't believe that impersonation is a common occurrence at test centers," said ETS President and CEO Kurt Landgraf.

It was revealed that 2 million students take the SAT each year and that 4,000 of those tests are cancelled for possible fraud. Another 200-300 are nixed for alleged impersonation. But only about 10 are reported. That's because current law protects the privacy of youthful cheaters.

Critics say only 10 percent from a multimillion dollar entity leads to arrests. Lawmakers blasted lax security that is allowing students to take tests away from home high schools, while paying proctors peanuts.

The panel responded with a promise for sweeping changes, including:

* Test day photography

* The hiring of former FBI director Louis Freeh to investigate policy

* The amending of current law that now penalizes honest students

Testing services also said they would stand behind amending laws to allow immediate reporting of suspected cheaters to high schools, colleges and police.

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Lawmakers reiterated it is the honest students who are penalized:

"They prepare for this like they're preparing for the Super Bowl. This is something that will determine the course of their life," said Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-Port Jefferson.

Meanwhile, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said her continued investigation is moving quickly, adding additional student arrests could come next week.

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Although they are non profit, some critics Tuesday blasted the testing services as multimillion dollar monopolies that should not penalize students and raise prices of testing in order to pay for better security.

Critics at the hearing blasted the current SAT security, saying savvy students are using modern technology to forge identity cards, covertly copy exams and secretly transmit correct answers.

Are new laws needed? Let us know below...

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