SAT Cheating Rare, But Usually High Profile

Seven teens in Long Island were first to use fake identities in several years.


Last week, seven Long Island teens were arrested for allegedly paying an Emory University student to take the SATs for them using fake IDs.

The College Board estimates that it invalidates some 2,000 tests each year because of suspected cheating. Usually, students are caught collaborating or skipping ahead on the test. But occasionally, more blatant cheating like that in Long Island is uncovered.

The 2,000 invalidated tests each year represent a minuscule percentage of the 2.25 million tests administered annually.

When a proctor suspects a student of cheating, he or she alerts the College Board, which invalidates the student's score. The student is then allowed to retake the test, free of charge. The College Board doesn't officially accuse students of cheating, but when law enforcement catches them, students can be arrested.

The College Board and ETS, the testing security company that handles exam security for the SATs, APs, and numerous other tests, require students to bring a photo ID to the exam. But cheating still occasionally occurs.

In 2009, then-University of Memphis basketball star Derrick Rose was widely believed to have had a stand-in take the SAT for him. After an NCAA investigation showed that his SAT score had been invalidated, the organization vacated the university's 2007-2008 season, in which it lost the national championship game. Rose didn't face any consequences—by the time the cheating was uncovered, he was already in the NBA.

In 2002, 10 students at the private Landon School in Bethesda, Md., were caught cheating on the SAT. Most of the students were suspended for the remainder of the year; two students withdrew from the high school.

The 2004 heist movie, The Perfect Score, followed six students as they broke into a testing center to uncover the answers to the SAT. Though the film was a work of fiction, the College Board does administer the test on the same day worldwide to prevent test questions from being compromised. Last year, some test questions were stolen when a Korean teacher, who took the test in Seoul, E-mailed questions to two students in Connecticut. Because of the time difference, they were able to study before taking the test, according to The Daily Beast.

Last week, the New York prosecutor who is charging the students in Long Island told the Associated Press that she thinks cheating is widespread. "If we don't send the message to these kids now," she said, "they're going to be the future corrupt politicians, the corrupt CEOs, the corrupt accountants."

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