ETS introduces voice-based anti-cheating system

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : May 29, 2014 - 21:01
  • Updated : May 29, 2014 - 21:01
The Educational Testing Service, a U.S. firm which administers the TOEFL and TOEIC tests, recently rolled out a biometric voice identification system for the TOEFL tests.

The system uses biometric voice identification software to verify that the right person is taking the test. According to ETS, the system was introduced in February in all 130 countries where students take the test each year.

ETS began piloting the software for the program in May 2012. The company currently has a patent pending on using the biometric voice identification software for the purpose of weeding out impersonators.

Along with TOEIC, TOEFL is one of the most commonly taken English tests in Korea. Most Korean firms and universities require certified English test scores for job applicants, and people with high scores gain an edge over their competitors.

Because of the demand for high TOEFL scores, some people hire fluent English speakers to take the test for them.

Last year, Seoul police arrested a ring of 28 people who used micro-cameras, earphones and other high-tech devices to cheat in these tests. Later in the year, authorities nabbed two Chinese nationals who entered Korea to take the test for their “customers” with fake IDs.

The newly implemented system is expected to help prevent such cheating.

“The pilot phase of the biometric voice identification software proved it was a major asset in identifying suspected impersonations and enabling ETS to cancel those scores before they were reported,” commented David Hunt, senior vice president of the Global Education and Workforce Division at ETS.

ETS said it planned to extend biometric voice identification to cover the TOEIC program this year.

By Yoon Min-sik (