|College stress driving some students to cheat|
|Written by Drew Zimmerman, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Monday, 07 November 2011 21:01|
The desire to get into a top college or university may be driving students to cheat, after a recent arrest was made in New York City.
A 19-year-old college student was arrested for using fake IDs to impersonate six high school students so he could take the SATs for them at a cost of $2,500 each.
Further investigation has led New York Sen. Kenneth LaValle to believe this is a national problem.
This case has led to a response by the College Board to reexamine testing security. Some critics argue since colleges are not notified of SAT cheating, an emphasis on SAT scores make cheating a natural extension of college entrance.
In response, the College Board will hire a former FBI director to go over the security procedures, which has been described as overkill by critics. Test taking in a student’s own school is all that’s necessary to prevent the problem of false identification, according to critics.
In Normal, Jeff Hill, principal of University High School, believes being a small school is beneficial in guaranteeing testing security.
“Our guidance department takes every precaution to ensure that each student is doing their own,” Hill said. “As a smaller school, it is much easier for our test administrators to be familiar with our students thus making it difficult to replicate the situation that was in the news most recently.”
“The combination of a smaller school and thorough procedures for student identification has created a secure testing environment,” Hill added. “Providing enough faculty and staff familiar with the students has also been a benefit to test security.”
The ACT exam being used in Illinois has a lot of measures in place to seek out students with false identification or other issues, according to Scott Gomer, ACT media relations director.
Students are able to use a hotline to anonymously report cheating or identification problems. Also, ACT relations are in strong communication with high school and college instructors who proctor the exam.
Regarding the stress of getting into a good college, Gomer sees many trends that center around small colleges and universities.
Most of these schools don’t have a low acceptance rate, which decreases stress.
“We recommend that students should find their own like and interests and focus on the best match and not national ranking,” Gomer said. “We perform retention studies and find that better matched students have a better chance for success.”
According to the ACT website, security procedures are designed to ensure that examinees have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their academic achievement and skills, that examinees who do their own work are not unfairly disadvantaged by examinees who do not and that scores reported for each examinee are valid.
Matt Vanover, communications director for the Illinois State Board of Education, has not heard false identification being an issue in the state for the SAT, ACT or any other entrance exam.
Because the ACT is still offered as a separate test, there is the threat of false identification, but not within small schools where the faculty is familiar with all students, according to Vanover.