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ETS Sues Chinese School for Copyright Infringement
|Chinese students' applications to US universities may well be affected by a special review of their GRE and TOEFL test scores, insiders said.
The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) boards sent a letter to American universities on January 30 "urging them to treat all GRE and TOEFL test scores from China with caution," as "certain individuals may have gained unfair advantage through intensive coaching that included exposure to undisclosed test questions."
Officials at China's Ministry of Education refused to comment on the possible results of the review or divulge the reaction of educational departments to the letter.
The letter has drawn attention to the New Oriental School, China's largest test preparation school that provides students with the "coaching" referred to by the boards. The school is currently being sued for copyright infringement after using unauthorized and unreleased GRE materials in its courses.
The letter, which casts suspicion on the test scores and integrity of Chinese students, has given rise to anger among Chinese students.
Most students said they believed the letter attacked the reputation of Chinese students as a whole and would probably affect their prospects for admission into American universities.
Yao, a graduate student at Peking University said: "It makes no sense to assume that the `sharp increase' in Chinese students' GRE test scores is the result of cheating."
Educationalists hold that it is unfair for all Chinese students to bear the negative consequences of a few individuals' misdeeds.
The anger of Chinese students was addressed towards the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the world's leading English language testing institution. The ETS administrates GRE and TOEFL tests across the world, tests that are essential to the success of any application for admission to or a scholarship at a US university.
Tom Ewing, director of external communications with the ETS, emphasized that the GRE and TOEFL boards fully believe that the majority of Chinese students take their tests under fair conditions.
"It is organizations such as the New Oriental School that lead to honest Chinese students being slandered," said Ewing.
The ETS has issued a lawsuit seeing New Oriental for infringement of copyright after it published certain ETS materials without authorization.
Xu Xiaoping, vice-president of New Oriental, said that New Oriental had acknowledged its "mistake" in connection with the ETS copyright issue.
He said his school had contacted the ETS several times to buy the publishing rights for authorized GRE materials, but that they had been repeatedly rejected.
Xu noted that New Oriental would have become the largest buyer of ETS materials in China if the ETS had made authorized GRE materials available to them.
The ETS had issued publishing rights for its materials in many other countries, such as Japan, Canada and the United States, but not in China, according to Xu.
The ETS said that some materials published by New Oriental had been confidential, and had not been published anywhere else in the world.
New Oriental denies that the higher test scores of its students are the result of cheating or have anything to do with the copyright infringement, and claims that their success is because the new computerized testing system used by the GRE makes it easier for Chinese students to do well.
In response, Tom Ewing said that the upward trend in test scores was not related to the introduction of computerized GRE tests, saying: "We have not seen a similar increase in other countries."