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Students Arrested in SAT Cheating Scandal

Students Arrested in SAT Cheating Scandal

Seven students arrested in Great Neck, NY in SAT cheating scandal.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph

September 30, 2011

How much would you pay for a near perfect score on the SAT? $100? $500? How about $2,500?

On Tuesday, seven students in Great Neck, New York were arrested amid allegations that they cheated on the SAT, according to the Associated Press. Former and current students at the Great Neck North High School, one of the most prestigious high schools in the country, were accused of paying Sam Eshaghoff, a former student at the high school and current student at Emory University, up to $2,500 to take the SAT for them.

The scandal was brought to the county’s attention by school administrators who heard rumors of students paying someone to take the SAT for them. They then noticed a huge inconsistency between six students’ actual grades and their SAT scores, states the Associated Press.

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The Associated Press reports that Eshaghoff had been paid to take the SAT several times throughout the past two years – to the extent of flying home from Emory University one weekend to take the SAT twice for two different students. Eshaghoff is even accused of taking the SAT for a girl. His scores for those students fell between 2140 and 2240, according to the Associated Press. A perfect score on the SAT is 2400.

In every instance, Eshaghoff was able to successfully pass for each student, even the female, by using a fake I.D. He also took each test outside of the Great Neck school district, ensuring that none of the test proctors would recognize him or notice the discrepancy between Eshaghoff and the names on the identification cards.

This has obviously caused much debate over the security measures administered on test day. As it stands now, students must show an admission ticket and photo ID, which can include a state-issued driver’s license; state-issued non-driver ID; a school identification card; a passport or other government-issued document. In an interview with the Associated Press, Nassau County District Attorney, Kathleen Rice, suggested that students should have their photos taken on test day, which would then be sent to students’ schools to be verified.

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Amid the security debate, officials and administrators are also questioning how the students should be punished. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Rice was quoted as saying, “If we don’t send the message to these kids now, they’re going to be the future corrupt politicians, the corrupt CEOs, the corrupt accountants, because they’re going to say, ’Look I did this when I was 17 and I got a slap on the wrist. Cheating pays.’” Whereas Eshaghoff’s attorney believes that the matter should have been treated internally by the school, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The reality though is that students are often caught cheating on the SAT, and rather than reporting the matter to colleges they’re applying to, the ETS, who administers the test for the College Board, simply withdraws the test scores and offers the cheating student the opportunity to take the test again or receive a refund. According to The Wall Street Journal, about 1,000 students’ test scores are dismissed each year for cheating on the SAT.

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