SAT cheating scandal involving Emory student leads to new rule about photo IDs

The SAT cheating scandal involving an Emory student has led to tougher security measures for test takers.

Last year,  the Nassau County district attorney charged Emory University student Sam Eshaghoff, who is from New York, with scheming to defraud, criminal impersonation and falsifying business records. The DA alleged that six students at Great Neck North High School in Long Island paid him as much as $2,500 to take the SAT in hopes of achieving a higher score.

Now, the test companies are taking steps to prevent such blatant cheating.

According to The New York Times:

Stung by a cheating scandal involving dozens of Long Island high school students, the SAT and ACT college entrance exams will now require students to upload photos when they sign up for the exams, and officials will check that image against the photo identification the students present when they arrive to take the test, the Nassau County district attorney said Tuesday.

The change was one of several announced Tuesday in the aftermath of the cheating cases, in which high-scoring students used fake IDs to take SATs or ACTs for other students. Twenty teenagers from five schools in Nassau County were arrested last fall, five of them suspected of taking tests for others and the other 15 accused of paying them $500 to $3,600 to take the tests.

The new rules apply nationwide, and the Nassau County district attorney, Kathleen M. Rice, said in a statement that they would take effect in the fall. Ms. Rice said a goal of the new requirements was to close the gaps in test security that had allowed students to impersonate other students. The photograph that students will be required to upload will be printed on their admission ticket and the roster at the test center. The statement said the uploaded photos would be retained in a database that high school and college admissions officials can look at.

Another new rule calls for would-be test-takers to list their high school when they sign up. “This will ensure that high school administrators receive students’ scores as well as their uploaded photo,” according to a statement from Ms. Rice’s office. “This back-end check will provide another opportunity for cheaters to be caught.” The statement said home-schooled students or others who are not in high school — those in the military, for example — “will follow a slightly different registration procedure.”

The statement also said that standby test registration, in which students can register the day they take the test, would be eliminated. “Students not appearing on the roster” at a test center or students who do not present sufficient identification “will not be allowed to sit for the exam,” according to the statement from Ms. Rice.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

19 comments Add your comment

Atlanta Best

March 27th, 2012
1:29 pm

Atlanta issues are unique to Atlanta, and I think it’s sad that they are trying to paint the rest of the nation as sad as they are. The majority of individuals in this city are left overs from the rest of the nation. They are some of the most poorly educated individuals I have met and worked with in my career.
Focus on your city and the lies and deceit that you have perpetuated on the rest of us. I have worked all over this nation and none is more ethically flawed than this city. The children of Atlanta Public Schools are by far the dumbest children I have worked with. Rude, hostile, and careless about their actions

GNGS

March 27th, 2012
1:43 pm

This supports my earlier suggestion that make all students’ test scores public to reduce cheating.

Pluto

March 27th, 2012
1:52 pm

You mean you gotta show an ID to take an SAT but one political flavor wants to eliminate showing an ID to vote?!? In the ten years since coming into the teaching world, I have seen cheating taken to new heights. Many students are mastering the fine art of cheating in middle school or before and honing those skills through high school. This is not the way to compete in this day and age. This country will reap what it is sowing by raising our kids with some secular relativistic morality or no morality at all and blaming everyone else for their faults. May God have mercy on us.

MiltonMan

March 27th, 2012
1:53 pm

3,2,1 until we here that this is a problem due to republicans, Bush, NCLB, etc.

Because of the aforementioned, it is alot easier to catch these liberals & their cheating ways. This is way the libs hate it.

scurvy

March 27th, 2012
2:31 pm

Are minority students going to be prohibited from taking these tests? My understanding was that getting your photo made, even if it was at no cost was prohibitive against people who are not white.

redweather

March 27th, 2012
3:05 pm

As if voter impersonation has ever been or ever will be a problem. Test taker impersonation, on the other hand, is as old as . . . high stakes aptitude testing.

catlady

March 27th, 2012
3:07 pm

Pluto, you mean like the folks who can absentee vote without showing any ID?

East Cobb Parent

March 27th, 2012
4:56 pm

I was told by several students that they observed another student cheating via cellphone while taking the SAT. No one wanted to get involved and point it out to the proctor. This could be teenagers being teenagers, but the girls/boys were adamant the girl was cheating. I’m sure she had her photo id.

3schoolkids

March 27th, 2012
7:48 pm

Are they really going to expect High School administrators to check pictures when they receive scores? Please!!!

dean

March 28th, 2012
1:34 am

Well…I guess this means that UK and Calipari are going to have to figure out some other way to get their basketball players eligible. :)

Pluto - where did they learn to cheat?

March 28th, 2012
4:40 am

Pluto says “Many students are mastering the fine art of cheating in middle school or before and honing those skills through high school. This is not the way to compete in this day and age.”

Well, they learned how to cheat…in school…from their teachers.
I think no adult in Atlanta and especially no teacher in Atlanta has any right to criticize these students when they cheat because they all cry about the unfairness of high stakes tests! Well this is a high stakes test, remember?
Cheating teachers…this is what you make when you cheat and you have no right to criticize.
GM

It's a High Stakes Test

March 28th, 2012
4:45 am

But wait….this is a high stakes test!
Over and again Maureen and Get Schooled and a thousand teachers on this blog blame the test because it is a high stakes test and of course everyone will cheat on a high stakes test. It’s not the cheaters fault or lack of morals the cheating Atlanta teachers say…it’s just the test.
Well, what’s good for the teacher is good for the student.
If it’s Ok for a teacher to cheat on a high stakes test, then it must be OK for a student to cheat on a high stakes test.
I, for one, think all cheating is wrong. No one put a gun to the teachr’s head and demanded they cheat — they should be fired and never allowed to teach or be employed by the government again.
As for the students, the test taker and the one the test taker is cheating for should be punished too.
GM

To GNGS

March 28th, 2012
4:47 am

You have an unusual comment. You write “This supports my earlier suggestion that make all students’ test scores public to reduce cheating.”
How will this reduce cheating?
Explain your argument.
I assume that shame is part of your plan but I cannot see any reasonable situation where this would solve the cheating problem.
Good test security measures would solve the cheating problem but publishing test scores? How would that reduce cheating?
GM

Denise

March 28th, 2012
8:09 am

Very sad that a few children’s actions will cause such a large change in the testing policy. I am concerned with the process. This will assume that every child has access to the internet and the equipment to upload their picture. I dont think this is a racial issue, but an income class one. It will be interesting to see how much this will actually help the situation and what the long term impact will be. This is just sad that due to the spoiled antics of a few teens, it will change the entire process for everyone. I am glad both of my teens are throuh unless this rule follows to the GMAT.

Ashley

March 28th, 2012
9:09 am

So these kids were able to pay this test-taker upwards of 2500 dollars. My question……where the heck were the parents? AreI we suppose to assume they didn’t know about this shady business. This is all about competition and the lengths kids and parents are going to achieve the ultimate goal, whether it be by hook or crook. Once again spoiled teenagers have said they won’t play by the rules because they don’t apply to them…….wonder what the final punishment, if any will be?

To Ashely

March 28th, 2012
11:49 am

You blame bad parents and bad kids by saying “This is all about competition and the lengths kids and parents are going to achieve the ultimate goal, whether it be by hook or crook. Once again spoiled teenagers have said they won’t play by..”
Spoiled adult teachers won’t play by the rules either. If the teachers in Atlanta claim they HAD to cheat because it is a high stakes test (CRCT) then HOW can we as an Atlanta society expect our own younger minor children and young adult children to have higher morals than their own teachers?
The SAT is absolutely a high stakes test — much higher than the CRCT test.
If teachers claim the stakes were so high they had to cheat, well then the same thing goes for the younger, less mature students.
ALL cheating is wrong.
We as a society need to enforce test security measures for ALL involved, not just minor children — especially adult teachers.
GM

TO Denise

March 28th, 2012
12:10 pm

Denise, I understand your concern for the poor but I think you don’t have to worry. Kids who are college bound are familiar with computers and kids who are performing well in school are known by their teachers and the staff at the school. If a kid is smart and does well in school, they will be encouraged to go to college and take the SAT or ACT. Every school has a computer that can send a digital photo and just about every high school kid I know has a digital camera on their cell phone.
If this was another country, i think you’d be right to worry but here and now? very very unlikely….but I like that you are concerned for everyone’s opportunity.
GM

[...] SAT cheating scandal involving Emory student leads to new rule about photo IDs The DA alleged that six students at Great Neck North High School in Long Island paid him as much as $ 2500 to take the SAT in hopes of achieving a higher score. Now, the test companies are taking steps to prevent such blatant cheating. Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Jeremiah Walker

March 30th, 2012
3:45 pm

All the photos in the world will not end cheating. Some people feel as if any means should be employed to win. I have seen it among those who are well educated and those who were educated in the public domain. Our children have many examples of people who have prospered greatly by cheating the system. Corporate heads whom have lied about degrees they have not received, politicians who hold high standards over others while not having to sustain them for themselves. Teachers pressured to perform by people who have never taught, never mentored our youth, and in some cases simply don’t care. With whats at stake some kids are going to reassure the results by learning how to cheat. The photos will not stop cheating those with the financial capability will pay the right people to defeat even that system. Let’s not leave out parents who cheat at little league, football, cheer leading, debate, homework, reports , school applications. and any thing that puts their child ahead of some one else s. We are going to start at the top to solve this, but who wants to give up their seat at the top for some one who actually earned it.