Questions and answers of the widely-used US exam, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), have allegedly been leaked in China on Saturday, a TOEFL reviewer claimed, saying he received messages of answers being sold before the exam.
"I received a message through Sina Weibo Friday, saying that they have the answers for Saturday's TOEFL exam and asked if I was interested in buying them," TOEFL reviewer Fu Yingdong based in Beijing told the Global Times.
"I have heard of cheating during the exam, but have never seen a TOEFL exam leak. It was really shocking," said Fu, adding that early Saturday morning, he received another massage from the same person, who provided the questions of the oral and writing sections.
Photos presented by Fu show that on January 25, some language education institutes and a person had posted on WeChat that they had obtained the test questions. Some even sold them for 30,000 yuan ($4,792).
Fu confirmed the authenticity of the questions for the writing and oral sections.
The Beijing News quoted an employee at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in China as saying that they have yet to receive any information about the leakage and it should be dealt with by the US headquarters and they suggest reporting the leakage through e-mail. Many students who took the test on Saturday expressed anger about the cheating while some were worried that the leakage may delay or even void their test results.
"Since taking the TOEFL was previously linked to the encrypted network in the US, many students were forced to delay taking the test due to the unstable network. To avoid this, ETS began to transfer questions to computers in China in advance, which was abused by some people," Wu Xiaoliang, the founder of the Beijing-based Wulaoshi TOEFL tutorial agency, told the Global Times.
But the ETS has yet to confirm the latest allegation.
A source close to the ETS' security department said that their computers could calculate the time students use to take the test and analyze the results of the different sections. He said this could lead to a delay in the release of results.