SAT Cheating Made Easy (and Frequent)

Below is my letter to the editor in response to the new college entrance exam security measures. The letter was published in local newspapers, in the communities where the SAT scandal first arose.

     High-stakes testing is a disaster. While I commend the new security measures, they fail to fully harness the case at hand. The students who got caught cheating did so in the most difficult way possible and many avenues for cheating still exist. Having recently taken these exams, I have seen students cheat in a variety of ways that do not involve another person taking the test for them.

     The proctors for these exams do their job to varying levels of effectiveness, which College Board and American College Testing have no way of evaluating. Students look at each other’s exams during the test and share answers during breaks.

     Nonetheless, the problem rests in the fact that cheating is not a practice; it is a culture. The students who cheat are not bad people with bad morals. These students are a part of an epidemic being cultivated by our high-stakes testing culture. We cannot continue to place such emphasis on these exams and not expect cheating to transpire.

     Just as colleges read applicants’ essays with the knowledge that someone else may have written them, they must now recognize standardized test scores with the understanding that they may not be legitimate.

Zak Malamed
RLT Student Leadership Board Leader
Twitter: @ZakMal