New York's education commissioner canceled today's statewide chemistry exams for 80,000 high school students after the New York Post, citing widespread thefts of the test, published a stolen answer sheet.
Commissioner Thomas Sobol described the Post's move as "beneath contempt."
Atty. Gen. Robert Abrams' office said it is investigating the theft of two exams in New York City and looking into reports that copies of them were being sold for as much as $2,000 to groups of students who split the cost.
The New York Board of Regents sponsors 17 exams on different subjects, which it distributed to high schools in padlocked safes to be administered in a one-week period, June 15 to June 22 this year.
The exams are crucial for many students to graduate from high school without attending summer school and to get a diploma acceptable to colleges.
The Post reported that so many stolen tests were circulating it took the newspaper just 15 minutes and two phone calls to obtain a copy of the chemistry answer sheet.
The newspaper printed a 56-answer scoring key on its front page, explaining, "The Post is publishing it only after learning that thousands of answer sheets have been photocopied by and distributed to high school students illegally."
Other exams went on as scheduled this morning, but Sobol's spokeswoman, Linda Fisher, said a new chemistry exam will be offered on Aug. 17. She said the state also would grant students credit based on their high school chemistry grades.