Just how common is SAT cheating?
December 16th, 2011
12:02 PM ET

Just how common is SAT cheating?

by Jason Kessler, CNN

(CNN) As the Long Island SAT cheating scandal widens, the education community is asking fresh questions about how many students are scamming their way through the most important test they'll take in high school.

And the two organizations that oversee the SAT, the College Board and ETS, are facing fresh scrutiny over whether their security measures are up to snuff.

The soul-searching and finger-pointing are fiercest in Nassau County, New York, where 20 current and former students have been arrested in the exam scam. Prosecutors say that five test-takers used bogus school IDs to take the SAT or ACT for 15 students, who paid between $500 and $3,600 for the privilege.

The test-takers are charged with scheming to defraud, falsifying business records and criminal impersonation. If convicted, they could serve up to four years in prison.

The College Board and ETS have strongly condemned the attempted corner-cutting. "No one despises cheating more than the College Board and the people who design the SAT," said its president, Gaston Caperton, at a recent New York Senate hearing on the controversy.

Declaring its determination to root out cheating, the College Board has hired a security firm headed by former FBI chief Louis Freeh to review its SAT security protocols.

ETS, which administers the exam for the College Board, has indicated that it is open to any reforms Freeh's firm proposes. The organization already has an extensive anti-cheating system in place, spending about 10% of its $225 million annual budget on security, ETS president Karl Landgraf testified at the hearing.

Even as they put their security protocols under the microscope, both the College Board and ETS say they're confident SAT cheating is exceedingly rare - and that impersonation schemes like the one that allegedly took place on Long Island are even rarer.

Of the 2 million-plus SAT tests taken in any given year, approximately 4,000 scores are canceled because of suspected cheating, according to Landgraf. Of those, 200 to 300 are impersonation cases, he said.

Several hundred additional students - about 700 last year - are turned away at the door each year because of questionable IDs, ETS spokesman Tom Ewing said.

But some question whether the numbers are low because many impersonators escape detection altogether.

"All they can say is they are unaware of a large number of impersonations," Bernard Kaplan, the principal of Great Neck North High School, the epicenter of the cheating scandal, said at the hearing.

Though nobody knows how many impostor test-takers get away with it, cheating experts say the number is likely modest.

"It's a small tip of a small iceberg," said Bob Schaeffer, the public education director of testing watchdog FairTest, referring to the arrests on Long Island and the underlying problem they indicate.

He said SAT cheating cases more often involve copying or prior knowledge –- for instance, schemes in which students in one time zone, who have taken the test, pass answers to students in another time zone who haven't.

Undetected impersonation cases probably account for less than 0.1% of SAT tests taken, according to John Fremer, a former ETS official who now runs Caveon Test Security.

From a security standpoint, the test's Achilles’ heel is its acceptance of school IDs as a valid form of identification, say principals and test-site administrators.

"Any fifth-grader with a computer" can crank out a fake school ID, Kaplan said at the hearing.

The SAT-takers arrested on Long Island are accused of doing just that. They accessed test sites by flashing doctored school IDs, which showed pictures of themselves alongside their clients' personal data, prosecutors say.

At least one suspect on Long Island is accused of taking the test using a school ID that identified him as female.

Those who check the IDs are unsurprised some counterfeits get through. "If it's a fake ID, it's hard for us to monitor that," said Paul Riberio, the former coordinator of SAT tsting at Darien High School in Connecticut.

School IDs in particular are "so easy to forge, whereas if it's a federal or state-issued ID," which the College Board also accepts, "that's a totally different situation," Riberio said.

Exacerbating the school ID problem, critics say, is a College Board policy that allows students to take the SAT at any test center they choose.

When students take the SAT at their own school, some administrators and proctors may already know them. Administrators are also likely to know exactly what that school's IDs should look like - and be well prepared to spot any irregularities.

The reverse is true when a student takes the SAT at a school he or she doesn't attend.

"The more kids you're having from outside, the harder it is to ensure that the kid is who they say they are," said Bill Furdon, the principal of Pearl River High School in New York.

Authorities say the suspects in the Long Island case exploited this College Board policy, taking the exam at schools their clients did not attend.

As the College Board and ETS cheating-prevention methods have come under fire, so has their response to test-takers they suspect of cheating, which some call too lax.

ETS offers suspected cheaters three options: Retake the test, cancel your score, or seek judicial review.

When a score is canceled after ETS questions its validity, ETS does not notify the test-taker's high school that cheating concerns prompted the cancellation.

Only if a cheating case involves the exchange of large sums of money does ETS contact law enforcement, Landgraf testified. It has done so in 10 cases to date, he said. The Long Island case is the first in which a prosecutor has brought criminal charges against alleged cheaters, according to an ETS spokesman.

When asked by legislators why ETS does not punish cheaters more vigorously, Landgraf suggested the organization's hands were tied by New York's Education Law.

A section of that law mandates that testing agencies offer due process to cheating suspects. It also requires that suspected cheaters be allowed to cancel disputed test scores and forbids agencies from passing along cheating evidence to the schools of test-takers "under pending investigation."

But ETS can still notify schools of improprieties it uncovers after cheating investigations conclude, a spokesman for the Nassau County district attorney said.

New York legislators are considering amending the law to permit tougher penalties.

"Cheating on your SAT is wrong and the committee will have to consider whether it is indeed criminal," state Sen. Kenneth LaValle said at the hearing.

Even before the College Board receives recommendations from Freeh's security firm, it is weighing several new measures to stamp out impersonations.

The nonprofit is considering adjustments to the number and type of IDs it requires from test-takers, as well the use of digital photography in authenticating test-takers' identities, Caperton testified.

Other options it is likely to examine include palm-vein identification technology; fingerprinting, which is used on the LSAT exam; and requiring that students take the test at their own schools.

But in addressing the impersonation issue, the College Board may well create other problems.

If new ID requirements are perceived as a hassle, some students might decide not to take the test at all.

And though fee waivers are available to students who qualify, any security enhancement that inflates the SAT's cost would disproportionately impact low-income test-takers.

ETS is well aware of the tough balancing act required.

"Any sort of requirement that adds additional burdens for students to overcome has to be weighed very carefully," Ewing said.

Ultimately, the College Board and ETS' best weapon in the fight against SAT impersonators is probably gossip, the source of so many other problems high schools face.

"Kids are very, very bad secret-keepers," Fremer said. There would be more impersonation "if they could discipline themselves not to talk about it."

Posted by
Filed under: Issues • Policy • Practice
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. FREEMASON

    oops jr93657@yahoo.com

    December 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  2. FREEMASON

    Really!!! We are in a bad economy and in desperate need. We can all spare no chances to not fail. In this economy with this much unemployment we are not doing to good. People are doing what they can to survive in todays economy and if it takes a sacrafice that outweighs the possible outcome we will take it. Its human nature. Why can't we just get rid of this test and eliminate and possibility of this happening. Seriously people. jr92657@yahoo.com

    December 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  3. Mr. Intellectually More Adept Than You

    It really doesnt matter if you cheat on the SATs or ACTs. You may have made it through the exam but YOU STILL HAVE TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE REST OF LIFE...Good luck with that!

    December 28, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  4. Johnny P

    Sounds like the kids in Cali are getting a points boost because the kids on the east coast take the exam first. There should be a pretty easy solution to that... let's just see if the CollegeBoard is smart enough to figure that one out.

    December 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  5. Barbara Jones-Glaze, Ed.D.

    Forget the SAT. Colleges should come up with more modern ways to select students. What about creative people?

    December 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  6. Fluteplayer

    The comment about taking the SAT at one's own school is not an option in many areas of the country. In my area, students in most schools have to take the test elsewhere (I had to drive my kids 50 miles to get to the closest test center). Perhaps in large urban areas most high schools give the SAT, but not in my neighborhood. So that's not exactly a cure-all for security issues.

    December 22, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  7. Been There

    Who cares if they cheated? Welcome to the place we call Earth. Everywhere I have worked people are looking for angles to get ahead. Sometimes this would include cheating, spying, copying, etc. Just happens these kids were smarter than the others. Live with integrity. If you find an angle, exploit it.

    December 21, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  8. Deepwater805

    I ain't not saying that I cheeted when I tooks mi SAT, but I knows lotsa people hoo did. Shonuf, I thinks that mo womens cheeted then mens. Cuz y'all knows womens folk cheets heeps. Ok I gots to go now, cuz I be due bak in sirgery. I be cutt'n on some po dudes brane today....

    December 21, 2011 at 4:46 am |
    • Luke

      yo bro, i think you might have to go to school before you take the SAT. ans acting like your going into surgery to operate on peoples brains is a joke obviously...moron

      December 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
      • Mr. Intellectually More Adept Than You

        Before you form a feeble attempt at educating someone else, please be adequately educated yourself. You made numerous grammatical and orthographical errors. You're a blind man leading a blind man.

        December 28, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  9. Rob

    I am sorry but what about requiring a government issued ID.... wouldn't this have prevented this case (because they were using fake school IDs).

    Anyone who cannot or does not have some form of government issued ID can I don't know take it with the principal of their school or something...

    Then all the proctors should be bar bouncers because they can spot a fake driver's license

    December 21, 2011 at 3:24 am |
  10. Elite Cryptocracy Member 6252413

    Yes slave.. Uh, I mean citizen. You must answer your SAT tests in order for you to understand where you fit in OUR society. Whether that be as a soldier guarding the opium in Afghanistan and calling it "freedom" and "liberty" if anyone questions you. Or as a custodian in in one of our many banks, but I will advise you to open an account with us, and look into a mortgage. Please keep in mind... Everything is okay... Your government loves you... Here is some "Dancing with the Stars".... We will "protect" you, with help from FEMA.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:41 am |
  11. glj

    Tests like SAT and ACT server no purpose, except to measure how well you can regurgitate data to the test. I have always had trouble taking tests, but I can do the work. Have been in the IT industry for about 30 years and have moved up the ranks. Hold a BS and will be finishing my MS soon.

    December 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  12. Colleen

    I believe that the CollegeBoard is a monopoly, cheating is far more common than the CollegeBoard would like to admit, and that the ACT is better than the SAT for those looking for a career that is not math-oriented. Standardized tests, in general, however, are ridiculous. I received very good scores on the ACT and SAT, but I don't think those scores reflect my skills well at all. I graduated first in my class from a Big 12 school, no problem, with an accounting degree. Now, I am in law school, and I am succeeding there, too. The ACT and SAT merely allowed me access to scholarships and/or to some higher level schools. Am I thankful? Yes, I am thankful for that opportunity. Is it fair? Probably not, though I would have gotten the scholarships anyway because of my high G.P.A. in high school. Those who want and deserve to succeed will find ways to succeed, no doubt about that, but those who want but don't deserve will not make it very far, regardless of any precious degree. Many men and women succeed in life without a college degree, or without a prestigious name to their degree. I am saddened to hear that America is so desperate to obtain something so, so very materialistic.

    December 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  13. Cheyenne

    Want to stop cheating. Student can only take SAT and ACT at the school which they attend. Schools would be required to give SAT and ACT once a quarter and the ETS would be required to pay for proctors and any other expenses incurred by the school.

    December 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • newzwatcher

      There were well over 2,000 students at my high school and there were dozens and dozens of teachers there that I never even met. They would not have recognized me–only the relative handful of teachers who taught me would have, and only if they happened to be invigilating on the day I happened to take it. This won't make a difference in large urban and suburban high schools.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
      • paoconnell

        Back when I took the SAT in the 1960s, we were required to display a school issued ID before we could take the test. Little cheating, and I had a high score.

        December 22, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  14. Get rid of the SAT

    I scored decently on the SATS, over 2000 and I am a senior in high school. They imo, are a complete waste of time. They only measure test taking skills. Not your actual intellect. School gpa is a much better way of showing that. Idk about the the percent of people actually cheating since i have not seen it yet, but that dosnt mean it dosnt occur. Collegeboard is a monopoly that should be stopped.

    December 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • k

      SAT's don't matter...the size of your pay check does.

      And really this is America...where who ever have the most money wins. So not cheating on a silly SAT proves you do not have what it takes to succeed in todays world.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • newzwatcher

      Judging by your communication skills, you should fear tests that measure intellect.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  15. Matt

    The SATs are discriminatory because they do not cover areas of intelligence such as the social sciences. I always knew even as a 13 year old I would do something in the social sciences and ultimately earned a research PhD in social psychology, a degree for which I had to demonstrate applied knowledge of mathematical concepts (e.g., Statistics). But my intelligence was underestimated (and my purposes in life neglected), whereas the intelligence of future engineers was OVERestimated by these tests. The SAT has no content validity. It is a collection of tea leaves from which we are attempting to divine the future. The dirty little secret is that even ETS and academics know that this test fails to adequately predict performance in college. My 1100 SAT was lackluster. But I was a near 4.0 student in college and a near 4.0 student in graduate school and ultimately went on to 1290 GRE scores and more importantly a 680 in my subject area (92nd percentile). We need to scrap the SATs.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • jason

      you do something in the social sciences with that degree, but do you REALLY do anything for society...

      December 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
      • Matt

        More than most. Maybe more than 90%. Definitely more than anyone I went to high school with.

        December 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Home Boy

      You're a big, silly poo-poo head. You know it, I know it and the SAT proved it.

      December 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • will

      Okay, we get it, you're bitter. You need to let go, you took the test how many years ago? Obviously, your life turned out fine.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • newzwatcher

      Interesting, since ETS also makes the GRE. What makes you think the GRE is valid?

      December 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  16. Matt

    You can tell their PRIMARY objective is to maintain public trust in these tests. They're terrified because people have made them work over the years to defend the utility of these standardized tests, which attempt to predict success in business, sociology, or statistics from memory of high school algebra - and artifically separate students through the use of a 1600 point scale - and where the greatest predictor of future academic success, the verbal scale, accounts for only 16% of the variation in what it claims to predict. Eee gads! Yet college admissions folks still want them because they provide a quick and dirty way of widdling down stacks of applications tens of thousands deep.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  17. iaver

    In NYC this happens A LOT!! I remember in high school this would occur. Most people were turned away at the door but some managed to get through, as most stories one heard would go. The pressure of doing well on the SAT in order to get into college is great. Society has put soo much emphasis on getting into a good college that students are overwhelmed with the prospect of potentially not doing well on the SAT. In student's minds not getting into a well known school equates to not being able to attain "success" in life. And in that case why risk not doing well on the SAT if you can guarantee a high score. In no way am i condoning any student to cheat, but i do think something must be said on the mindset encouraged and instilled in todays youth by society, government, parents and school administrations. I believe the SAT should not hold as much influence, as it does, on how a college admissions board selects students and hands out scholarships. I guess you could say i don't believe standardized tests are as affective as policy makers like to portray.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • will

      They have to select people somehow. The SAT is a fair unbiased way to do that.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:16 am |
  18. tests

    Cheating on SATs happen "ALL THE TIME" in foreign countries where it is easier to get away with it. If you have the money, you can just pay the sub. tester AND/OR the proctor/coordinator. BOOM!, this random international kid gets 2400/2400 on SAT. C'mon, I am 100% sure the College Board is well aware of this...but they don't know how to prevent it....stopping SAT tests in foreign countries just reduce their profits...

    December 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  19. Home Boy

    Isn't it funny that the rich kids that pay the smart kids to take the test for them don't get in much trouble. It's always easier to pick on the poor kid isn't it? The rich kid fights back with lawyers and Daddy's money and could compromise your job so he doesn't get in trouble. Might makes right people. There has never been and will never be a fair playing field.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  20. Jeff

    Cheating on the SAT is common in Taiwan. I have a Taiwanese friend who told me that they separated the students into "smart" and "non-smart" groups. The "smart" students were put in a separate room without a proctor and could collude on the test. Also, the time guidelines weren't followed.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • jason

      i was not aware of the prevalence of taiwanese high school students taking the US SAT. is this required to be an exchange student?

      December 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  21. Someone in Columbus

    OK, so someone cheats on the SAT. What does it gain them? The SAT is only one data point they use, albeit it is one that cuts across high school grading practices.

    So someone gets into a school they cannot handle – they'll eventually flunk out. Yes, someone may not get in who should of initially – but just because you didn't make it the first time, doesn't mean you cannot get in as a transfer student later on.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Navier

      Students who cheat on SAT and get into good schools will not flunk out. They will cheat all the way through college to graduation. It's a lot easier to cheat in college classes than in SAT.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Matt

      I could never have been admitted to Harvard with my lackluster 1100 SAT scores, but I ultimately went on to get my PhD and maintain that I could have easily handled the Harvard curriculum - perhaps better in some areas (e.g., social sciences) than many Harvard grads who entered Harvard with a 1500+ SAT score.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Sue Brown

      Cheating also may take away scholarship money from honest students; ie: if a scholarship is given to a higher SAT/ACT score, then the cheater will get the scholarship money because he scored higher than the student who took the test honestly and should have gotten the scholarship.

      December 19, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  22. MattRides

    I have proctored both the SAT and ACT many times. If you have questions about the process, go ahead and ask (instead of making comments based on hearsay and/or ignorance of the process itself).

    December 16, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Stan

      Why couldn't home room teachers handle proctoring students whose faces they could immediately identify as frauds then, sir?

      December 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
      • MattRides

        It's a good idea. The only problem is that many schools don't have "homeroom", especially those that utilized block scheduling. Nonetheless, it would be just as effective to require students to take their ACT and SAT exams at their home school, where their faces would be more easily recognized, and where fake ideas could be easily spotted.

        December 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Cheyenne

      Want to stop cheating. Student can only take SAT and ACT at the school which they attend. Schools would be required to give SAT and ACT once a quarter and the ETS would be required to pay for proctors and any other expenses incurred by the school.

      December 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  23. Matt

    "Undetected impersonation cases probably account for less than 0.1% of SAT tests taken, according to John Fremer, a former ETS official who now runs Caveon Test Security."

    How the FLURK do you know?

    December 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  24. gulliver foyle Jr.

    That 0.1% is a fantasy figure, pulled out of somewhere just for this story. They have no way of knowing how extensive the cheating is.
    And you can bet it is much more extensive than anyone is willing to admit. The ridiculous emphasis on a test that really doesn't measure anything accurately as well as the desire for ETS to view themselves as anything other than the parasites they are is the real problem.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Matt

      You can tell their PRIMARY objective is to maintain public trust in these tests. They're terrified because people have made them work over the years to defend the utility of these standardized tests, which artifically separate students through the use of a 1600 point scale and where the greatest predictor of future academic success, the verbal scale, accounts for only 16% of the variation in what it claims to predict. Eee gads! Yet college admissions folks still want them because they provide a quick and dirty way of widdling down stacks of applications tens of thousands deep.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  25. Education Failure

    Millionaire Middle Class is broke. They couldn't hardly pass the exam. 😦

    December 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  26. DeeNYC

    If a dumb kid cheats and gets a high score and gets into a good school he or she will just flunk out anyway. unfortunately the dumb cheating kid will knock off someone else who truly deserves to get in.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Navier

      Again: Students who cheat on SAT and get into good schools will not flunk out. They will cheat all the way through college to graduation. It's a lot easier to cheat in college classes than in SAT.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  27. Rivethead

    I'm more concerned about people cheating on their finals or buying their way through them. With as much as 40% of students cheating on their finals, how much faith can we place in our Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Accounts, etc.

    "Oh, I cheated on my finals, but I'm TOTALLY a pediatrician! Totally! Frikkin'-A, your child is in good hands, brah."

    December 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  28. Pat

    If students took the SAT/ACT with their home room teacher, there wouldn't be the type of cheating described above.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Stan

      That's what I say. The test proctors' union must be strong.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
      • jason

        venn diagrams show the test proctor's union has 99% membership with the mcdonald's wage-earner union...

        December 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Navier

      Yes, impersonation will be difficult with homeroom teachers. But it'll be other forms of cheating. Count on it. Cheating will always be there. One form or another...

      December 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • will

      But there could be other types of cheating if the homeroom teacher wants certain students to do well.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:21 am |
  29. Anthony

    All they need is a picture of the person who showed up to take the test included in the test results that are distributed to schools. Any admissions dept can then check the picture of the person who actually took the test to the person sitting in front of them. Even via the mail where schools dont have a person in front of them during the admissions process, they will be discovered when they actually show up for school looking nothing like the person in the photo on their SAT results file, even if noone checks in the beginning it is very unlikely that they will make it all the way through school before they are detected, even less so if schools actually put in place their own policies to make sure this check is done. They probably paid a good couple hundred thousand dollars for consulting work to likely end with a solution I came up with in 2 minutes for free.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  30. jalo

    It's vital for parents to emphasize morality in the home. When parents write their kids papers for them or make their school projects, this teaches children that it's fine to cheat the system. These are the same kids who grow up and get arrested for tax evasion or stealing from the company they work for. These kids lie on their resume and then fail in a job they clearly weren't qualified for. These are the same kids who may end up in jail, cheat on their spouse etc. Morality starts at home with role models who live by example and teach fundamental values. Let's also be tuned in to our teens and connected. This is impossible when everyone's face is in front of a screen, so make a pact that at certain times of the day, the family is "screen and phone free". Reconnect with your place of worship as well...no matter how much your teen resists, this is an important foundation for instilling morality.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  31. donnie mcl

    Multiple choice exams are not and never will be a true test knowledge.Its a farce.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • RightOn

      Your stellar use of grammar and your obviously biased opinion lead me to believe that you did not score well on the SAT.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
      • Hmmm

        You're*

        December 16, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
      • Andrew

        Hmmm you're hilarious. It is Your in Righton's example not You're.

        December 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • will

      Multiple choice tests are however a good measure of critical thinking.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:29 am |
  32. Fred

    The College Board that administers the SAT is a racket. Its an overpriced test, they push you to take it multiple times to better your score (and gain even more profits for themselves). Colleges should just use High School transcripts for admission as this test is both meaningless and VERY out of date.....and a RIPOFF.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Majestic_Lizard

      Correct answer.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Allan

      Transcripts are a joke. Too much grade inflation for accurate assessments.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • jason

      you don't understand the concept of a STANDARDIZED test, do you?...

      December 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Rivethead

      "Colleges should just use High School transcripts for admission"

      There's a terrible idea if ever I heard one. I can't tell you how many people I have met who didn't care about their high school grades because they felt too much pressure to decide what they wanted "to be for the rest of their life" before they were even old enough to vote. They took some time off between college and school to figure themselves out, as well as what they wanted to do in the future. The result being – some very brilliant, intelligent people with low HS grades. When those people were ready for college, they did a hellova lot better on the entrance exams because they actually gave a damn at the time they took them. We need tests like the SAT's and the ACT's, but it's clear we have to overhaul the system.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Andrew

      Bad idea. An "A" at one school is a "C" at another. Students at top high schools like Stuyvesant and Exeter are 4-6 grade years ahead of those at average US high school. That said, I'm fine with getting rid of SATs because there are plenty of other tests to determine knowledge and skill, like AP and subject exams. In general, the higher the SAT scores, the higher the AP and subject exam scores.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • DeeNYC

      someone did badly on the SAT's. It's a tough test and a good measure of a child's ability and desire to get into a good college. I've yet to see an highly intelligent kid get a bad score and NEVER seen a dumb kid get a good score. If you get a bad score you probably deserved it. I worked at a gifted high school for a few years.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
      • Carlos

        ACT and SAT scores do not represent any scale to determine one's intelligence. I took the ACT several times and utilized a private tutor. I earned a higher score every time. These tests do not prove anything (only how well you can take the test). College essays are more critical.

        December 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • will

      In defense of college board, its colleges that allow students to take it multiple times. Also, with all the grade inflation, GPA is a far less accurate measure of learning ability. Not to mention that classes and difficulty vary from high school to high school. The SAT is standardized, though I agree that its overpriced. $50 per test, plus $10 to send your scores (that's electronically, they don't even use the money to mail them), really?

      December 17, 2011 at 3:26 am |
  33. Lawguy

    LSAT no longer uses fingerprints. Instead, it requires a photo attached to the admission ticket.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  34. Tim

    Why cheat, the answer is always "B" ........trust me

    December 16, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  35. smart=cheating

    whatever it takes to climb to the top, the "smart" ones will do without batting an eye. hell, that's the definition of "smart" in this conscience-free culture.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Majestic_Lizard

      By this reasoning Milli Vanilli was the most talented pop group of all time.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  36. Jim

    "Undetected impersonation cases probably account for less than 0.1% of SAT tests taken, according to John Fremer, a former ETS official who now runs Caveon Test Security."

    Yeah, and even less than 0.1% of people who take the SATs are getting into the top tier universities. When our smartest high schoolers are denied the opportunity for the highest quality of education (where they would in theory have the best shot of doing something good for humanity) because someone else cheating for 20 more points on their SATs, this is a big deal.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Majestic_Lizard

      "Undetected impersonation cases probably account for less than 0.1% of SAT tests taken..."

      Nothing like make-believe statistical figures. The fact is they don't know how many are cheating. Until the heat is on, they don't care either.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  37. me

    I knew a guy in high school was very good at standardized tests and took SATs for other students. That was 98-99.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Anon E. Mo

      You are part of the problem for not reporting it.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
      • Majestic_Lizard

        How do you know he didn't report it? That's right, you don't.

        December 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Majestic_Lizard

      This is why human beings have to be able to discern the intelligence of other human beings based on the content of their work and actual dialog rather than a f**king number on piece of paper.

      Upper middle class snot nose brats have been cheating their way into universities they don't deserve to attend since the universities were established.

      If they can't cheat on the tests they find ways to have their records altered. You can't stop this.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  38. Stan

    Administer the tests in classrooms where all the teachers know all the students' faces? How advanced is the training to become a test proctor? Is there advanced "look at people and make sure they're not looking at their neighbor's sheet" training that is too much for teachers to handle?

    December 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Rachel

      You would do pretty poorly if you copied your neighbor's sheet as their are many versions of the tests. The way people cheat is simply by having a smarter person take the test for them.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
      • Stan

        "The way people cheat is simply by having a smarter person take the test for them."

        Which would be impossible if your teacher who saw your face every day were the proctor.

        December 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
      • Majestic_Lizard

        Actually they are pretty elaborate. Students often use codes made up of body language or tapping to communicate during the tests. You can have several students focus on mastering different areas of the test and have all of them walk out with the benefit of the same collective knowledge. If you don't think a group of people can keep silent about such incidents you must have been living on a different planet for most of your life.

        December 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
      • Stan

        Then let students take their tests in cardboard-walled booths like unto those used for voting with a video camera trained on them from above and disqualify them if they make more than an allowed number of audible coughs or noises 🙂

        December 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
      • DeeNYC

        I remember when I was in college and I came to class after a late night partying and I had a test. I was completely lost and just filling in circles and the guy next to me copied every single answer.

        December 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  39. Sarah

    I can't imagine this happens all over the country. How many average American teenagers have access to enough money to pay someone off for test taking? Long Island seems to have affluent communities where kids have the ability to do that...or perhaps their parents were in on it too.

    The SATs also aren't as common in the mid-west. It's the ACT that rules there

    December 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Majestic_Lizard

      "I can't imagine this happens all over the country. How many average American teenagers have access to enough money to pay someone off for test taking?"

      Well, if you can't imagine it, it must not be happening. バカだ!

      December 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
      • Isabel

        That's what Sarah's implying. She can't imagine it, so it she's implying that it's not happening.There's no need for insults.

        December 21, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  40. Majestic_Lizard

    "Even as they put their security protocols under the microscope, both the College Board and ETS say they're confident SAT cheating is exceedingly rare – and that impersonation schemes like the one that allegedly took place on Long Island are even rarer."

    It is rare that they get caught. That much is correct.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm |