Need to earn a few bucks for college? Take the SAT for someone else at $2,500 a pop

crcted.0920 (Medium)Expect a lot of fanfare over the story about the arrest of seven students, including an Emory sophomore, for cheating on the SAT as the media is focused on the current testing mania and the pressures students are feeling and this is an extreme example.

What I find most interesting is that six high school students had enough personal resources to allegedly pay Emory student and apparently ace test taker Sam Eshaghoff between $1,500 and $2,500 to pose as them and sit for the college admissions test.

That’s a lot of babysitting cash.

The six teens were from Eshaghoff’s prestigious Long Island, N.Y., high school. Eshaghoff is a 2010 graduate of Great Neck North who spent his freshman year at the University of Michigan before transferring to Emory in Atlanta.

Eshaghoff, 19, of Great Neck was facing arraignment after being arrested on charges of scheming to defraud, criminal impersonation and falsifying business records, said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

According to the AJC:

“Colleges look for the best and brightest students, yet these six defendants tried to cheat the system and may have kept honest and qualified students from getting into their dream school,” Rice said.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Emory confirmed that Eshaghoff is enrolled as a sophomore but did not say what discipline he might face. “Emory University expects that all students act honorably, demonstrating a keen sense of ethical conduct,” and to comply with the university’s Undergraduate Code of Conduct, Emory said. “Students alleged to be found in violation of this code are referred to the University Conduct Council for review and possible action.”

Rice said that between 2010 and 2011, six students at Great Neck North High School paid him to take the SAT in hopes of achieving a higher score. The six students implicated in the case were not identified because of their ages, a spokesman for the prosecutor said. Earlier this year, Great Neck North faculty members heard rumors that students had paid a third party to take the SAT for them, Rice said. Administrators then identified six students who “had large discrepancies between their academic performance records and their SAT scores,” the prosecutor said.

The students had registered to take the tests at a different school where they would not be recognized. Eshaghoff then went to the schools and showed a photo ID with his picture, but another student’s name on it, Rice said. At least once, Eshaghoff flew home from college primarily to impersonate two students and took the SAT twice in one weekend.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

36 comments Add your comment

Dr. Proud Black Man

September 27th, 2011
4:42 pm

Affirmative action for white folks.


September 27th, 2011
4:43 pm

Let ‘em cheat. It’ll show up the first time they try to make change at a cash register in the hamburger joint they’re working at. (Never end a sentence with at.)

Enron Madoff

September 27th, 2011
4:52 pm

That’s not cheating; that’s outsourcing!

Good Mother

September 27th, 2011
4:54 pm

How can we expect students to do the right thing when our own teachers cheat and continue to cheat. Even two teachers on this blog STILL brag about being proud they cheat and they say they will cheat again.

Unfortunately, I think these students will likely suffer more severe consequences than the cheating APS teachers and administrators.

Atlanta mom

September 27th, 2011
5:03 pm

“Administrators then identified six students who “had large discrepancies between their academic performance records and their SAT scores,” the prosecutor said.”
There’s a school with integrity.


September 27th, 2011
5:07 pm

“What I find most interesting is that six high school students had enough personal resources to allegedly pay Emory student and apparently ace test taker Sam Eshaghoff between $1,500 and $2,500…”

Gotta wonder if some of them weren’t bankrolled by mommy and daddy.

K. Augustine

September 27th, 2011
5:10 pm

We see no need to investigate; we expect to see outliers every year.

That’s what the administrators were supposed to have said.

But then again, what do I know? I only make $188,000 a day.

APS 4th grade teacher & a Proud Cheater!

September 27th, 2011
5:35 pm

This has been going on for years and now with the proliferation of on-degrees, it is imperative that smart employers have extensive screening procedures to select truly authentic, smart candidates. I feel strongly that the onus rightfully falls on institutions of higher learning and employers to develop more comprehensive methods of assessing talent

One day we will gauge the competency of others not so much on one item or test, but use multiple variables. The college admittance process is beginning to lean that way, but it is still heavily weighted in favor of one examination. It is ludicrous in this age, given knowledge of multiple intelligences, and the recognition that we have those with learning disabilities that are extremely gifted,…. we still hold everyone to conventional(50+ years) measures for predicting success. Yes, there are those that are just not oriented toward test-taking (e.g., Eienstein, Thomas Edison, Mozart, George Bush [arguably]…….).

Yes, I proudly uphold cheating. We must come to rely on holistic approaches in recognizing developmental benchmarks with children as opposed to end of year testing (Diane Ravitch spoke to this yesterday on NPR). The end of year testing frenzy has destroyed an opportunity for so many intelligent children to not flourish, ort to become excited over learning, because teachers are being mandated to teach in one mode, dwelling only on what will be tested.

Don’t dare believe the buzz words “differentiated instruction”…..Give Me a Break!

It is my firm belief that if you are teaching to the test day-in and day- out, you have compromised the validity of the test. To do so, you are… in essence, cheating. At the SAT level we have an industry built around test prep with parents spending handsome sums attempting to “help” their kids gain acceptance into schools of their choice. What about the many otherwise smart children whose parents don’t have the income for test prep. In this instance, I see nothing immoral with cheating. It is self preservation.

Thank you very much,
Fighting in the Trenches


September 27th, 2011
5:51 pm

@APS 4th Grade Teacher. Well, it’s certainly preservation of YOUR self.

All I'm Saying Is....

September 27th, 2011
6:06 pm

“Affirmative action for white folks” — Now that’s funny!!

“…outsourcing!” — And that’s a good line too!

And, of course, they were sponsored by mommy and/or daddy but I hope it was more of mommy and/or daddy unwittingly sponsoring this exercise in fraud.

All involved need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and not allowed to cut a deal and avoid jail time as this is a perfect example of money trumping hard-work: why should I do the work required to be considered for a good college if I can pay someone else to do it.

The sad part is folks spend more time debating what characteristics should be taken into account when properly considering a college applicant who has taken all the tests and submitted all the essays than rooting out circumstances of cheating and outright fraud. I am so happy this came to light and I hope it never lacks in publicity.


September 27th, 2011
6:15 pm

APS 4th
grade teacher

“It is ludicrous in this age, given knowledge of multiple intelligences, and the recognition that we have those with learning disabilities that are extremely gifted,…. we still hold everyone to conventional(50+ years) measures for predicting success. Yes, there are those that are just not oriented toward test-taking (e.g., Eienstein, Thomas Edison, Mozart, George Bush [arguably ”

You are right on target!!

Problem is those calling the shots , haven’t a clue about what it is that we want our kids to be EDUCATED about ?

Don’t we have to have a an educational philosophy that is a foundation for what we are ‘legislating’ for the schools? Who ought to be able to help us here ? Will , for example , Dewey , Freire, Howard Gardner, give ussome insights ? What of the advice of progressive curriculum writers?

Paddy O

September 27th, 2011
6:22 pm

Pretty pathetic. Perhaps a decade in jail will change this arrogant fools attitude toward cheating/gaming the system. Those 6 need to be expelled from their colleges as well.


September 27th, 2011
6:43 pm

Too bad Eshaghoff wasn’t an illegal alien. He could have done anything he wanted with impunity….


September 27th, 2011
6:54 pm

Where did these students get the funds to pay for the fraud? $1,500-2.500 a piece, what kid gets that much allowance, apparently mommy and daddy were in on the fix. This culture of cheating is nothing new, but it seems to be an epidemic across the board, from Congress to CEO, atheletes, teachers….fraud and cheats are the new norm. This is a sad state of affairs of the likes I haven’t seen in a long time. Six young adults lives are in ruin and I’m sure the pot is just getting stirred. In my day the typical term paper was written by someone else or the master test was stolen and went to the highest bidder, usually the culprit was caught and never warranted a felony or a four figure pay-off. This is beyond the pale.

High School Student

September 27th, 2011
7:53 pm

$2500 is a little steep. What’s the rate if I settle for a UGA student?


September 27th, 2011
8:22 pm

There are many students who work very hard to get into Emory or University of Michigan. Clearly, the testing service and the high schools need to increase their security on bad apples.

Ted Kennedy

September 27th, 2011
8:35 pm

I had it done at Harvard, and got caught and expelled. But what can a little indiscretion be without cutting corners? Hell, I never hurt anyone… Oops.

Remember the Children

September 27th, 2011
9:22 pm

@”APS 4th grade teacher & a Proud Cheater! ” It is really scary to think that you are what you state in your moniker and argue to support it. And on the earlier blog, “Congress Stalls on Fixing No Child,” you proudly compared yourself as one of the cheating APS teachers to the past civil rights demonstrators.

You justify erasing the students’ wrong answers on the CRCT by claiming that it will change the “end of the year testing frenzy”–just how will it do that?

Your students seem to pass the test, although they really do not know the material and thus cannot be helped through remediation; and you will keep your teaching position, although the damage to your students cannot be repaired. As you say, “I see nothing immoral with cheating. It is self preservation.”

Is this why you decided to teach children?

the prof

September 27th, 2011
10:11 pm


Another Math Teacher

September 27th, 2011
10:20 pm

I’m fairly certain that all the buyers involved went to school in the APS, at least for fourth grade.

Another Voice

September 27th, 2011
11:59 pm

I sure hope Superintendent Davis is watching 4th grade teachers closely this year. Wonder if APS 4th Grade teacher & cheater is smart enough to at least post from her own home pc, rather than the APS-provided computer.

Nah, probably not.

Remember the Children

September 28th, 2011
2:06 pm

@ Another Voice. Hmm. No posts by APS 4th Grade Teachers since yours. Maybe you’re right….computer forensics, anyone?

Checking the post-times by APS Teacher & Cheater for this blog and the earlier one I mentioned, I see 7 during school hours, 2 around 5 pm and probably still at school, and only 2 in off hours.

This blog: 9:28 am, Sept. 26; 12:02 pm, same; 5:35 pm, Sept. 27.

Previous blog: 12:50 pm, Sept. 23; 3:43 pm, same; 8:01 pm, same; 4:38 pm, Sept. 24; 8:57 am, Sept. 25; 112:20 pm, same; 5:50 pm, same; 9:39 pm, same.

Isn’t there an old saying about returning to the scene of the crime? Or is this taunting?


September 28th, 2011
2:33 pm

Why are we sending him to jail? I am not condoning this behavior, but our jails are full of other stupid crimes.

@ - Remember the Children & @ - Another Voice

September 28th, 2011
4:47 pm

Last night I read an article about a republican student bake sale that was a protest against the University of California – Berkley’s admittance policy giving preferential treatment to minority applicants. The bake sale pricing structure, a mockery of the policy, gave discounts on items being sold based on the buyer’s race, gender and other features of permanence.

If my son had a solid portfolio, including grades and other metrics, and I found out that a less qualified person of color would be taking his place,….I would not hesitate, if the technology were available, to change his skin color and other associated attributes.

You may call cheating if you wish, but I would feel completely justified and would not miss one wink of sleep. Incidentally, my voting record would put me solidly in the democratic camp and I in no way associate my life’s work with being a racist.

I believe in fairness and equal opportunity, and I know that these two ideals are open to interpretation. In essence, cheating is often in the “eye of the beholder.” Again, I have no reservations when it comes to helping children who would otherwise be neglected of receiving a rich, child-centered curriculum, focused on the joy of learning. It is what I would want for my child.

Thank you very much,

Fighting in the Trenches

p.s.: You must be a Keystone Cop, keeping track of my schedule. What’s next: publicizing my I.P. address, if you could. Am I supposed to be scared? It has a familiar tone, sounds like the Hall/Augustine approach of intimidation to squelch the truth.

I’m fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way!

Concerned DeKalb Mom

September 28th, 2011
5:24 pm

@Fighting in the Trenches…and if the less qualified kid who got in ahead of yours had the same skin color? How do you fix that scenario? Or are you making the inference that only kids of a different skin color would be less qualified?

APS 4th grade teacher & a Proud Cheater!

September 28th, 2011
7:17 pm

@ – Concerned DeKalb Mom

I would urge that the university’s current admittance policy which has tenets of affirmative action be replaced with a new policy based on measurable performance criteria, and not factors over which applicants have no control, such as race.

Affirmative action had a valid role bringing relief after years of legally enforced segregation, when institutions of learning and other organizations did not have a balanced representation from minority groups, including women. It is my belief that this mechanism has run its course, or served its purpose for that era. Great intentions, but it is time to move on.

We had forced desegregation of school districts across the country and that practice has all but stopped. Why? Some of the goals were accomplished, but as a whole, America’s schools are more segregated today than they were five decades ago**. Simply put, there was a backlash.

I feel confident that the president of the United States is in office because of his level of accomplishment and not the color of his skin. There are simply aren’t enough voters of color for this to have been the case. We must move steadfastly toward a merit based society if we are to compete in a global economy against people of all hue. Competence will be the dominating factor!

Thank you very much,

Fighting in the Trenches

**Suggested reading – “Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America,” by Johnathan Kozol.

Remember the Children

September 28th, 2011
7:48 pm

@ APS School Teacher. You’re shifting the grounds of the argument. The cheating of which you are so “proud” involved your erasing your students’ wrong answers or indicating to them the correct answer, rather than letting them mark the tests themselves. This has nothing to do with Affirmative Action or a University’s admission policy. The effects on the children who do not have the knowledge being tested but are passed anyway is devastating, for there’s no way to give them remediation for their ignorance.

Admit it—that’s a terrible thing to do to children. It consigns them to falling further behind in each grade they’re passed onto. YOU are responsible. There’s no getting around it.

And by the way, since all applicants for admission to Universities self-identify their race/ethnic group, “cheating” means nothing here anyway…and Universities do NOT have admission policies based at all on race or Affirmative Action.

Remember the Children

September 28th, 2011
8:09 pm

APS 4th Grade Teacher. You are wrong about the U. of California, Berkeley having an admissions policy based upon Affirmative Action. The bake sale was devised by the President of the Campus Republicans as “a way to make a statement about pending legislation that would let the California universities consider race or national origin during the admission process.” The legislation has not passed, and it would only be “consideration” by Universities in that one state.

You’re sure not “fighting for truth”–changing a student’s answers on a test–or “justice”– cheating is the very opposite of justice– or “the American Way”– do you really want to argue that all Americans cheat?? You’re fighting for your job.

And you must realize how much the honest APS teachers, the APS parents, and Atlanta tax-payers hate you for your cheating.


September 29th, 2011
1:42 pm

The culture of cheating in our school systems by both teachers and students is astounding. I hope this kid goes to jail, if even for a few hours. But the students who paid someone to cheat for them are just as guilty.

I wish Maureen would do a series just on cheating by students. She could ask her own kids, including those in high school and college and she would get an earful.

My child regularly laments the fact that the teachers rarely enforce the no cell phone policy at her school because literally half the class uses cell phones to cheat on tests.

Cheating in high school sporting events is just as prevalent. At a recent high school track meet, numerous students from certain high schools intentionally cut the course, avoiding hills, and placed at this competitive event. they should have been disqualified, but of course, nothing was done.

And look at our flagship schools – Univ. of Georgia and Georgia Tech. They give incredible weight to grades when they know they are ridiculously inflated and due in part to blatant cheating. GA Tech has gone off the deep end in my mind. They now have students “self report” their grades and do not require the schools to send in the official transcript. Honest kids are punished; cheaters take the spots in the best schools in the state.

Maureen Downey

September 29th, 2011
2:07 pm

@Stunned, My kids tell me that they do not see much cheating, particularly in college. The tests that my middle schoolers typically take at their Decatur middle school don’t enable too much cheating, lots of essays.
But I will ask them again.
When I speak to classes, I am perplexed by how many kids in high schools, private and public, are on cell phones. And my middle schoolers do tell me that they have friends who text in class, not to cheat, but to socialize.
However, I did see that exact phenomenon in cross country where a visiting team cut diverted from the course and saved themselves some time. But the explanation was that they didn’t know the path. I am surprised that the team you cite was not disqualified.

Remember the Children

September 29th, 2011
3:23 pm

The following entry was posted on the Aug. 31 blog thread, NCLB: Conspiracy” and sure sounds like the above “APS 4th Grade Teacher & A Proud Cheater!” although the poster wasn’t “fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.”

“Guilty APS Teacher and PROUD OF IT! September 1st, 2011, 5:01 pm. I cheated last year by pointing to correct answers as I walked throughout the room. I will continue to help struggling students choose the right answers until I am no longer evaluated based on my children’s scores. Low scores mean I get placed on a professional development plan with targets. We have no other choice and I do not feel as though I have committed a crime.

It’s easy to say find another job. Oh yea, where? Especially one that pays a decent salary, offers health benefits and has hours that allow for a family life. Besides teaching is what I spent 7 years (Master’s plus 30) of my life preparing for, because it is what I truly wanted to do.”

Ole Guy

September 29th, 2011
3:37 pm

Once upon a time, the only prereq to success with SAT/ACT was a few hours sleep and semi-sobriety. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO EDUCATION? I’ll tell you what happened…we became afraid of (our) kids…that’s right, AFRAID! Kids are (or at least used to be) tough and resilient. Like that commercial, long ago, on the Timex watch…TAKE A LICKIN; KEEP ON TICKIN’. The “feel good” movement towards attainment of (psuedo) self esteem and the “warm an’ fuzzies” all but destroyed a few generations. Grade inflation, the “everyones a winner” mindset in contemporary education, the endless “second chances”, and simply the fear (among adults) that “the kid won’t like me if I light a fire under his six” mindset prevails.

As far as I’m concerned, the typical parent of the typical student comes from the very same mindsets which seemed to have oozed into the social fabric about 30 or so years ago.


September 29th, 2011
4:41 pm

I read the SAT to three special education students on year—all three went on to full rides for college football. Did their scores take a huge (qualifying) jump. You bet.

DeKalb Parent

September 29th, 2011
8:02 pm

Maureen, my child did not observe much cheating in middle school but it is massive in the high school. The kids all have data plans on their phones and will access answers to tests and special sites they set up with the study sheets that the teacher may have passed out. They also text each other answers. And finally, they take photos of test/essay questions and then send them to friends who will be taking the same test later in the day. The teachers are frustrated because when they consficate the phones or kick a kid out, the administration does not back them up.

So.. does anyone really believe these same students will accurately “self report” their grades on their Georgia Tech application?

Maureen Downey

September 29th, 2011
9:03 pm

@DeKalb. That’s terrible. I think the kids ought to complain to the board of ed. Or write about it in their school newspaper. Or write an op-ed for me about it to run in the AJC.


September 30th, 2011
11:40 am

As to the GT self reporting – the cheater from my daughter’s HS, was admitted and won a Presidential Scholarship. The 4.0 kid got a 2.1 at GT last year. Either karma or cheating doesn’t pay, take your pick. Lots of other kids went Dean’s List.