SAT Cheating ScandalsIn September of last year, an SAT cheating scandal exploded in New York's Nassau County involving 20 people accused of a cheating scheme in which impostors were allegedly paid up to $3,600 to take tests in place of high school students. In the months to follow, the scope widened to more than 35 people from five schools, two public and three private.
In response, state Sen. Kenneth LaValle, chairman of the New York Senate Higher Education Committee, has proposed legislation that would create new felonies of facilitation of education testing fraud, of scheming to defraud educational testing and create a new misdemeanor of forgery of a test. His bill also calls for potential test security measures including fingerprinting and retinal scans.The scandal has caused a ripple effect within the testing community and recently a company is proposing using plant DNA to thwart testing fraud.
Aren't we missing the point here? Should we be asking some tough questions of ourselves and our children when SAT cheating is so widespread that the College Board and states themselves are considering such over-the-top measures to curtail it? I think we should.
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Here are just a few of the questions that should be addressed and answered:
Has college admittance become so competitive that students feel the need to cheat in order to be accepted into the "good" schools?
Are parents putting too much pressure on their students to succeed and score high on these tests?
Have students learned the concept of honesty and integrity or have we neglected to teach them these core values to carry into college?
Will penalties and strict guidelines address the core problem, or only encourage students to be more creative in circumventing the test?
Is it time to evaluate the college admissions testing criteria and find another way of differentiating the students who will be successful in college from the ones who will not?
Are retinal scans, plant DNA and fingerprinting a symptom of a much deeper problem among the youth of today--i.e. the importance of doing your own work and claiming responsibility for it?
As a parent and grandparent, I'm concerned that instead of addressing these difficult questions, we are attempting to curtail the behavior by imposing penalties. If you're a parent, you owe yourself and your children the time to ask and answer these tough questions.
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