From the SAT Expert: SAT Cheating – Long Island and Beyond

As I understand from the news reports, students in several Long Island high schools ‘passed’ names and contact information for paid test-takers from friend to friend over the course of two years. The test-takers were college students who could guarantee that they would score high on the SAT. These test-takers charged anywhere from $500 to $3500 to take the test. they would register at a test site in a different school district from that of the student-client and take the test for him or her. Many of the arrests were the result of painstaking investigation by school officials. The clients, all minors, are being charged with misdemeanors, the test-takers with fraud and related charges.

This is a sad situation, to be sure. These children were under such intense pressure to perform that they turned to dishonorable means, or could it be that they were not so much pressured as, well, just too lazy to do the work that would have been necessary to succeed on the test themselves?

Sadder still is the fact that nobody seems shocked to hear about it. I looked ‘below’ the article on today’s NBC New York web site for comments from other readers. One reader remarked, what kids do in an environment with the pressure to succeed.tisk, tisk., and this reflects the point of view of many respondents to the story. a related post read, Cheating is so easy, and the benefits are so great, that the temptation is difficult to resist. Many observers shake their heads a bit ruefully at the folly of the students involved and blame the pressure placed on young people to do well on the test for the entire scheme. As a teacher and an SAT Prep tutor for nearly a decade, I can say with certainty that there is, indeed, enormous pressure on students to perform on standardized tests of all kinds. IF a student is made to believe that parental approval and life-long success depend on those scores, a monetary investment and a bit of subterfuge can begin to look like a good idea Our children will do what we teach them to do; we need to take a good look at ourselves for the reasons behind this story.

What will the future hold? As much as some might like it, standardized, high-stakes tests are not going to go away. One editorial comment on the news story said, Cheating on SAT’s has been going on for years.. Change the method of testing. Simply put, testing needs to be fair, and in a case such as this one the security around the administration of the test is basic to that fairness. The convenience of being able to register at ANY site might have to give way to testing only at sites where there is a reasonable likelihood that impostors would be recognized. Perhaps it will be necessary to arrange for smaller test sites, regardless of the increased cost associated with making that change,

If this kind of thing is as common as the last responder believes, change is essential. we need to find ways to decrease the pressure placed on students with high aspirations by parents and college admissions committees, AND we need to make changes in the design of the test and the testing environment. Whatever leaps forward may be made in the field of standardized testing, nothing will ever be MORE important than teaching our young people to value good, old-fashioned honesty and integrity.

From the SAT Expert: SAT Cheating – Long Island and Beyond


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