Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Interesting Educational Post on SAT testing and Fraud.
October is traditionally a month for clear autumn days for school reunions combined with football games and homecoming celebrations. For high school students looking to their futures it means channeling all the test preparation they have accumulated and taking the college admissions examination; the SAT.
For a group of college bound students in a New York, Long Island school district, SAT-time meant handing over a fee that ran as high as $2,500 to an enterprising young man who was accepting payment and taking the test for students feeling the pressure to achieve impressive scores in the competitive field of college admission procedures.
Administrators apparently heard about rumors of cheating and began to compare a list of students who took the test in another district and found discrepancies in student averages and test performance.
The administration and school officials do not believe that this incident was an isolated event. In fact, those involved in the investigation suggest that as the stakes are raised in the competition for college acceptances and scholarships available, creative methods of cheating the system are increasing.
Students taking the SAT are free to register to take the test at a school other than the one they attend. This certainly seems to highlight the idea of making security an area that could use some improvement. One founder of an educational tutoring program based in New York takes the SAT every year to keep up with the changes in content. This thirty-something year old man claims he shows up every year to take the SAT, and aside from the odd glance at the sight of a somewhat older test-taker, he has never been questioned about his presence at the test. (The man is commended for wanting to stay relevant in his field.)
There are several arguments for having students take the SAT at their own school; security being the most obvious. Many feel that taking such an important examination at the school a student attends, with the sight of familiar faces and staff, would bring a psychological sense of ownership to the test-taker which would help with reducing student fraud.
In an education system where children are taught from the moment they enter preschool that there are good choices and poor choices that can be made, and that there are rewards and consequences that come with each; what happens when you cheat on the SAT in some way? Your scores are withdrawn and no other disciplinary action follows. No college or high school is ever alerted.
Alice Knisley Matthias
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