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Sailors may again take college exams aboard ships after lost tests triggered a worldwide freeze on the practice a year ago.

The testing must follow a new policy designed to ensure more secure storage and handling of exams, and those who violate the rules will face punishment, the U.S. Navy said in a recent memorandum.

The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support gives thousands of sailors around the world access to a variety of higher education opportunities, including college exams and law school entrance testing.

The Navy halted the program in March after tests were lost at some shore facilities and aboard some ships.

All paper-based education testing resumed at shore facilities two months later, but the Navy vowed to freeze examinations aboard ships until it made policy changes.

"Critical to full restoration of testing afloat is our ability to ensure the security of all academic exams," according to the memo. "DANTES sponsored tests are controlled items, which require secure storage and handling."

Here are the new rules:

Ships can be authorized to set up testing centers for one year.Tests can only be kept aboard ships for two months, and no tests can be moved on shore.If a testing supervisor leaves and is not immediately replaced, testing must be suspended and all exams must be returned to the testing agency until a new supervisor is named.Any lost or compromised tests must be reported to DANTES immediately, and a full investigation must be completed.Testing sites must be reported and closed down when a ship returns from deployment.A ship’s testing privileges can be restored only after a full accounting of any lost or compromised tests."Personnel engaged in DANTES test administration and security who fail to follow policy are subject to … the Uniform Code of Military Justice and appropriate civilian policies," said the NAVADMIN released by Vice Adm. M.E. Ferguson III last month.

Affected shipboard testing includes the ACT college entrance test and Excelsior College examinations, which are accepted at many academic institutions and cover 53 areas of the arts, sciences, business, education and nursing.

The Navy administered 10,673 paper-based tests to 6,662 sailors in 2007, and the stop in testing probably affected thousands, according to the chief of naval personnel.

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