Pencils
The SAT test has been a huge source of stress for many students, and a few in New York have been arrested for paying someone else to take the test. Image: Flickr / dvortygirl / CC-BY-SA

Standardized tests are often used to determine a large part of a student’s future. In New York State, seven students have been arrested in conjunction with an SAT cheating ring that centers around Great Neck North High School.

Samuel Eshaghoff’s arrest

Samuel Eshaghoff, a 19-year-old man in New York state, was arrested on felony charges of falsifying business records, among others. Six students under the age of 18 were also arrested in conjunction with the same charges. The allegation is that Eshaghoff was paid between $1,500 and $2,500 each by at least six students to take the SAT test for them. The students were not identified because they are minors.

How Eshaghoff cheated

The SAT is a test that is notoriously difficult to cheat. The Educational Testing Service, which administers the SAT test, keeps the exact content of the test secret. Eshaghoff reportedly flew home from his college, created an unofficial identification, such as a high school ID, that matched the name of the individual who was supposed to take the test. Eshaghoff would go to a test-taking location some distance away from the student’s school, where nobody was likely to recognize the name of the student that was supposed to be taking the test. Reportedly, Eshaghoff did this for mostly male students, though one female student also hired Eshaghoff. The SAT cheating undertaken by Eshaghoff was originally discovered when, after hearing rumors, school officials compared the SAT scores of students to their GPAs and discovered “very wide discrepancies.”

Trying to combat cheating

The Educational Testing Service has, for many years, been researching additional ways to combat cheating on the SAT test. One suggestion is that a picture of each student be attached to the test booklet, and a matching picture be taken at the time the test is administered. Some testing advocates have expressed worry that attaching a test to an individual’s photo could skew results of the test, because the test has been focusing much more heavily on scores determined by real people, rather than computer scoring systems.

Sources

CNN: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/28/7-arrested-in-alleged-sat-cheating-scam/?npt=NP1
USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2011-09-27/SAT-cheating/50568922/1
LA Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/09/a-new-york-teen-is-arrested-for-taking-the-sats-for-six-students.html?track=icymi

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