By Julia Talanova and Jason Kessler, CNN
(CNN) - Harvard University is investigating allegations that almost half the students in an undergraduate class last spring may have plagiarized or "inappropriately collaborated" on their final exams, the school announced Thursday.
Following an initial investigation, Harvard's administrative board, which enforces academic regulations, undertook "a comprehensive review of the more than 250 take-home final exams" submitted at the end of a course, the school said in a statement.
The Harvard Crimson, the school's flagship student-run newspaper, identified the class in which the cheating allegedly occurred as Government 1310: Introduction to Congress.
A document on the website of Harvard's registrar's office says the class had 279 students.
"We take academic integrity very seriously because it goes to the heart of our educational mission," said Michael D. Smith, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, in a written statement.
Last semester during grading, "the faculty member teaching the course questioned the similarities between a number of exams," according to the statement.
The board then reviewed the questionable exams and interviewed the students who submitted them, eventually launching a wider review along with the class's professor, the statement said.
That review is still underway.
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.