Recently, there has been a lot of media attention on cheating and exam security. We’re seeing more and more cases of students, and an even greater number of teachers, trying to navigate their way around the system.

 

In the story “The Perfect Score: Cheating on the SAT”  from “60 Minutes,” Sam Eshaghoff, a 19-year-old Emory University student from Long Island, New York, is facing criminal fraud and impersonation charges for taking the SAT and ACT tests for other students. He is accused of taking the tests 16 times in three years, earning as much as $2,500 per test.

 

According to the report, Eshaghoff would print a copy of his own school ID (both paper and plastic) with the intended exam taker’s name and date of birth. At the test site, all he had to do was flash the ID for the test proctor to match the name on the ID to the name on the list, and then sit down and take the test. It was as easy as that.

 

This case proves that a good exam security plan does not stop at the check-in table. It should be multi-level. In the case of computer-based exams, for example, it should include qualifying and authenticating exam takers, securing the computer, controlling access to applications and local files, blocking access to the Internet, and training test proctors thoroughly. Unfortunately, there will always be someone who tries to find a way around the security measures that have been put into place.

 

In a related news story, “NY Senator Wants Prison Time For College Entrance Exam Cheaters,” from CBS 2 in New York, a senator wants to make cheating on college entrance exams a felony, punishable by prison sentences. Lawmakers are looking at a high-tech system aimed at preventing cheating, which would involve:

  • Mandatory pre-registration at a student’s home school with official legal ID documents only
  • Unique digital DNA created and assigned to an ID card with covert authentication marks printed on it
  • Instant identity verification by proctors using a simple UV light and smart phone scan

 

Although there are people like the senator out there who want to change the system, the Educational Testing Service and the College Board need to reach an agreement that change is imperative. In the end, cheaters never prosper. Instead, they’ll find themselves in serious legal situations or in a college or professional program that they aren’t realistically qualified to attend.

 

 

 

 

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