Entries in Cheating (8)


Harvard Students Accused of Cheating on Final Exam 

Hemera/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- Administrators at Harvard College have accused 125 students of cheating on a final exam last spring.

Officials at the prestigious university in Cambridge, Mass., said Thursday that they had found at least 125 students who they believe collaborated on a take-home final exam during the spring semester this year.

"We take academic integrity very seriously because it goes to the heart of our educational mission," Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said in a statement. "Academic dishonesty cannot and will not be tolerated at Harvard."

As of now, the school noted, the cheating is simply an allegation that will continue to be investigated. An academic board pored over 250 final exams from the Introduction to Congress class taught by Professor Matthew B. Platt, according to the Harvard Crimson.

Platt noticed similarities among 10 to 20 of the exams that were turned in, and alerted the Administrative Board, which then conducted an investigation, according to the report. The board then found similarities among 125 exams.

The student newspaper described how prior to the deadline to turn in the exam, panicked students packed into the office of a teaching assistant, asking for help explaining the essay questions on the test. Platt reportedly canceled his own office hours before the due date, the Crimson noted.

The school did not release the names of the accused students, although a student told ABC News that some of the individuals who took the class might have graduated in May.

Harvard administrators said that most students there do not cheat, but that academic integrity could be stressed more on campus.

"We must also not forget that the vast majority of our students complete all their assignments honestly, diligently, and in accordance with our regulations and practices," Smith, the dean, said. "Allegations of inappropriate collaboration or plagiarism in a single class should not be allowed to diminish the good work or reputation of our outstanding student body."

The school said it will focus on spreading awareness of academic integrity this school year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Scrabble Player Booted for Cheating at Championship Tournament

Hemera/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- A competitor was bounced from the national Scrabble championship tournament in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday for allegedly trying to hide two coveted blank tiles.

According to the National Scrabble Association website, "The tournament director...discovered that two blanks were not put into the tilebag as they should have been when the board was cleared off...The player was questioned and admitted to taking them."

The opponents the cheating player beat were retroactively given forfeit wins.

At last year's Scrabble World Championships, 25-year-old Thai finalist Chollapat Itthi-Aree accused Briton Ed Martin of hiding a "G" and demanded he be strip searched; the Thai competitor's request was denied, and the alleged letter smuggler bested him by a point.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


More Arrests in SAT Cheating Scandal

Hemera/Thinkstock(MINEOLA, N.Y.) -- Eleven young adults, including three men who authorities say posed as students and took the SAT for others in exchange for money, surrendered to authorities at New York's Nassau County District Attorney's Office on Tuesday to face felony charges in a college entrance exam cheating scandal that continues to grow.

"Educating our children means more than teaching them facts and figures. It means teaching them honesty, integrity and a sense of fair play," Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Tuesday in Mineola, N.Y. "The young men and women arrested today instead chose to scam the system and victimize their own friends and classmates, and for that they find themselves in handcuffs."

Joshua Chefec, 20; Adam Justin, 19; and George Trane, 19, were escorted by their parents as they turned themselves in to investigators on Long Island. The fourth accused man, Michael Pomerantz, 18, is expected to turn himself in Monday.

Authorities said the men headed up a cheating ring that charged students $3,500 in exchange for them taking the SAT or ACT. Prosecutors said that eight of the nine students who paid the four to take the tests surrendered as well Tuesday. They could all face misdemeanor charges.

Kathleen Fineout Steinberg of the College Board said the agency and Educational Testing Services would continue to review its security enhancements. The ETS hired a firm led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh to determine whether its security procedures were deficient.

This scam involved current or former students at Roslyn High School, St. Mary's in Manhassett, Great Neck South and North Shore Hebrew Academy in Great Neck.

The charges follow the September bust of a ring allegedly led by Emory University student Sam Eshaghoff, who prosecutors say charged $1,500 to $2,500 to take the tests for six students. The students, who knew one another from Great Neck North High School, were also charged.

In 2011, 138 scores were canceled after ETS concluded that individuals had cheated on the exam. More than 2 million students take the test each year, according to the College Board website.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


SAT Cheating Ring Widens on Long Island

Hemera/Thinkstock(LONG ISLAND, N.Y.) -- The investigation of an alleged SAT cheating ring that saw the arrest of seven students in September has widened to include five Long Island, N.Y., schools and as many as 20 students suspected of defrauding college admissions exams.

Between 11 and 13 students are expected to turn themselves in Tuesday at the Nassau County District Attorney's office to face charges that they cheated on the SAT and ACT exams, according to D.A. spokesman John Byrne.

The charges follow the September bust of a ring allegedly led by college student Sam Eshaghoff, who prosecutors say charged $1,500 to $2,500 to take the tests for younger students.

Byrne said the county identified at least 35 additional students since September who allegedly either paid for someone else to take their entrance exam or were paid by students to take the exam in their stead. The statute of limitations, however, prevents them from prosecuting about 15 of those students, he said.

The remaining students could be prosecuted on felony charges if they took the test for money for a student, in the process falsifying business records and identification documents. The students that paid for the service will face misdeameanors.

Tom Ewing, spokesman for Educational Testing Services, which creates the tests and administers the security protocol for the SAT, said that cheating rings for profit on the SAT are unusual, though each year they do have instances of individual students impersonating one another for the test.

In 2011, 138 scores were canceled after ETS concluded individuals had cheated on the exam. More than two million take the test each year, according to the College Board website.

Nassau County prosecutors, however, contend that more should be done to stop the cheating than simply canceling a student's scores. Byrne said Monday that the district attorney was not interested in criminally prosecuting every student caught cheating, but current practices by the ETS and confusion in legislation governing instances of cheating has lead to a lack of accountability on the part of cheaters. The DA's office hopes for a change in legislation, the spokesman said.

In Nassau County in September, District Attorney Kathleen M. Rice decided it was time to prosecute. Eshaghoff, a college student at Emory University, was charged with taking the SAT for at least six students in exchange for money. The students, who were also charged, all knew each other from Great Neck North High School on Long Island.

Now, students from Great Neck South, St. Mary's, Roslyn, and North Shore Hebrew Academy are expected to be charged.

Eshaghoff faces up to four years in prison on charges of scheme to defraud in the first degree, falsifying business records in the second degree and criminal impersonation in the second degree.

The students who allegedly paid for Eshaghoff to take their tests were charged with misdemeanors and face up to one year in jail.

Eshaghoff, who is also being investigated for impersonating additional students, will next appear in court on Nov. 28.

Rice, the Nassau County district attorney, has scheduled a news conference at noon Tuesday to discuss the new arrests.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


College Board Does Not Punish SAT Cheats

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An alleged SAT cheating ring was busted in Long Island, N.Y., after faculty members from the high school heard rumors that students had paid someone to take the test for them.

An investigation revealed that at least six high school students allegedly paid 19-year-old college student Sam Eshaghoff thousands of dollars to take the test, prosecutors said.

Eshaghoff is facing charges of scheming to defraud, falsifying business records and criminal impersonation. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison. The other six students are facing misdemeanor charges and have not been identified because of their ages.

But if the College Board, which owns the SAT, had determined that the cheaters did not violate the law, it is likely that the only consequence would have been a cancelled test score.

“If it comes to the point where we have determined that there was cheating or that the score was not valid, we cancel the score and we notify the colleges and universities that the score…cannot be used for admission purposes,” said Tom Ewing, a spokesman for Educational Testing Service, the company that designs and administers the SAT. "There will be a notification that the score was canceled, but it carries no stigma."

Of the 2.25 million SATs that are taken every year, Ewing said, ETS cancels about 1,000 test scores and 99.9 percent of those are for students copying off each other.

The College Board only alerts the authorities about an investigation if they believe students violated the law, Ewing told ABC News.

“We’re much more concerned with cancelling scores and letting universities know they’re not available for admission than detailing whatever may have happened,” he said.

Once a student’s score is canceled for cheating, that student is allowed to take the test again and there are no additional punitive measures pursued by the College Board.

The ACT, another college entrance exam, has a similar policy.

“We don’t tell schools or anyone else; we simply cancel the score,” ACT spokesman Ed Colby told the Los Angeles Times in 2008.

ACT media relations director Scott Gomer, confirmed to ABC News that this continues to be the ACT’s policy. Students that are caught cheating are allowed to take the test again, but the cancelled test does count against the organization’s 12-test limit.

Ewing said that while the scandal in Long Island has caused some people to call for stricter security measures, it’s unlikely the College Board will overhaul its security procedures.

“[We] are always trying to review enhancements to the test security process, but any enhancement has to take into account that it doesn’t unnecessarily burden test takers,” he said. "It’s such a rare occurrence, these kind of things. It hardly merits massive revision to the test security process.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


SAT Cheating Ring Busted, Seven Students Arrested

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An alleged SAT cheating ring has been busted in Long Island, N.Y., resulting in the arrest of seven students.

At least six high school students allegedly paid 19-year-old college student Sam Eshaghoff thousands of dollars to take the test for them, prosecutors said.

Over the past year, six students from Great Neck North High School in Mineola paid Eshaghoff between $1,500 and $2,500 to take the test on their behalf, according to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

"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. "These arrests should serve as a warning to those taking the SAT this Saturday that if you cheat, you can face serious criminal consequences."

Eshaghoff graduated in 2010 from the same high school that the students attend. He spent his freshman year at the University of Michigan before transferring to Emory University, where he is currently a student.

On at least one occasion, Eshaghoff allegedly flew home from school just to take the test twice in the same weekend, according to prosecutors. The students would register for Eshaghoff to take the test in different schools in the district where they would not have been recognized by name, prosecutors said.

Students are required to present test officials with photo identification and an admission ticket. Prosecutors said that Eshaghoff would present a fake ID with the student's name that he was impersonating and his own picture on the card.

In one instance, prosecutors said, he took the test for a female student at no charge, but it is unclear how he was able to pass for her in order to get into the exam.

Early this year, faculty members from the high school heard rumors that students had paid someone to take the test for them. An investigation led to the identification of six students who had taken the test at different schools where they would not be identified and whose test scores seemed out of line with their grades in school.

The Educational Testing Service is the company that designs and administers the SAT and is responsible for test security. Its spokesman, Tom Ewing, said the company takes cheating allegations very seriously and investigations include visits to the schools involved and examinations of documentation.

All seven students were arrested Tuesday morning. Eshaghoff is facing charges for scheme to defraud, falsifying business records and criminal impersonation. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison. The other six students are facing misdemeanor charges and have not been identified because of their ages.

Great Neck North High School is one of the highest-ranked public high schools in the country with notable alumni including film director Francis Ford Coppola, fashion designer Kenneth Cole and Olympic figure skater Sarah Hughes.

"The Great Neck School District does not tolerate cheating and we remain committed to cooperating with law enforcement in this matter," school district officials said in a statement. "It is our hope that the actions currently being taken by the District Attorney's Office will serve to bring an end to any dishonest practices which may have placed students at an unfair disadvantage and will also bring to light any shortcomings in the security of the SAT testing system."

All seven were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Long Island.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teacher Cheating Scandal Shakes Atlanta

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Atlanta Public Schools are under investigation after having been accused of systemic cheating over 10 years that involves about 180 educators, including more than three dozen principals.

A report released Tuesday by the Georgia governor's offices alleges that there was widespread doctoring of state curriculum tests and that much of the academic progress the school system bragged about was bogus.

Furthermore, investigators say that Superintendent Beverly Hall either knew what was going on or, at the very least, should have been aware that many of Atlanta's educators were guilty of perpetrating fraud.

State investigators began looking into the results of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in 2009, which showed suspicious score changes.

The report contends that improprieties were regularly covered up while wrong-doers were rewarded and whistle-blowers punished.  Far worse, the report finds that tens of thousands of students came out as the real victims because their abilities were wrongly appraised.

Besides the expected reprimands and firings, criminal charges could be brought against some higher-ups, since destroying government records and lying to investigators carry penalties of up to 10 years in prison.

As for Hall, she left her job a week ago and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, although she recently said others were to blame.  In 2009, she was named Superintendent of the Year for the nation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Builds Career on Helping Students Cheat

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- That nurse taking your blood pressure? She may not have written her college term papers. Ditto for your accountant, your pharmacist, your child's school principal. Cheating has come a long way since the days when answers were written on the palm of a student's hand.

Meet "Ed." He agreed to talk to ABC News as long as his name was changed to protect his identity. He said he's helped thousands of students graduate by writing their term papers, final exams, even doctoral theses. Many of them are on highly specialized topics, including national and maritime security. And his clients rarely get caught.

While his services mean the students don't have to crack open a book, "Ed" says he usually doesn't either. The Internet, he said, has made him a kind of jack-of-all-trades.

"In the midst of this great recession, business is booming," he wrote last month in an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education. "At busy times, during midterms and finals, my company's staff of roughly 50 writers is not large enough to satisfy the demands of students who will pay for our work and claim it as their own."

Despite advances in technology to prevent cheating and an increase in vigilance by professors, estimates as to how many students cheat are still high. According to researchers at the Center for Academic Integrity, more than two-thirds of college students have admitted to cheating.

"Ed" said he was on track to make $66,000 this year before he got out of the business -- more than some of his clients will make after graduating using his work. His longest assignment -- a 175-page accounting paper written over four days -- earned him $2,000.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio