The College Board Cheating Scandal


Anastasija Petrovska, Reporter

Students and teachers in every classroom are counting down the days until the SATs. However, typing in “SAT” into your search bar results in recent articles on the scandal, in which wealthy parents bribed third parties to change their children’s answers on the SAT, or ACT, in order for them to get into Ivy League schools.

Shockingly, Hollywood actors including Lori Loughlin—who played Rebecca Katsopolis in the heart-warming sitcom Full House and later Fuller House—and Felicity Huffman from Desperate Housewives, paid for their children’s admission into a prestigious university. Starting with Jennifer Kay Toy, an Oakland mother and teacher, several other defendants filed a lawsuit against Loughlin and Huffman’s involvement in the scam, due to the fact they feel their kids were put at a disadvantage. Now, Loughlin and Huffman are currently facing a $500 billion federal lawsuit—with more charges, arrests, and prison time approaching. Along, with those consequences, Loughlin lost multiple production jobs, and her daughter Olivia Jade lost her partnership with Sephora. Thus showing the permanent and damaging consequences being faced with these allegations.

Was it worth the risk of cheating?

This brings up important questions: what is the purpose of standardized tests, and how did the College Board allow this to happen? Is there another and better way college admissions could assess students?

Students and their parents spend hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars annually on SAT exams, textbooks, tutors, and therapists because of stress. Yet, some wealthy families are directing their money toward securing their kids’ high scores, guaranteeing a spot in a prestigious school.

Unfortunately, this isn’t even the first cheating scandal. Around September 2011 in Great Neck, N.Y., students were paying other classmates to take their college entrance exams. These paid students would walk in and act as if they were meant to be there, assuming someone else’s identity. This is why, currently, we have to bring IDs to try to prevent this issue. This was yet another way to prevent a different form of cheating.

According to BHS Assistant Principal Mr. Tocco, “it’s disgusting that people take the tests for them—and shocking, because the College Board has certain rules and regulations. The worst part of it is that they take college spots from a deserving kid.”

Whether it is glancing over to the person next to you’s paper, or sneaking in information, what’s the difference between these methods of cheating? Some would say cheating is cheating, and BHS has a zero-tolerance policy on that.

Additionally, Mr. Tocco said, “…the College Board needs to disappear.” Perhaps his scandal is evident of that. The board dictates the school curriculum, and eventually a student’s future.

According to the Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics, which surveyed 43,000 high school students in public and private schools, 59% of high school students admitted cheating on a test during the last year, and 34% self-reported doing it more than two times.

Is cheating how our generation finds a way to succeed? By looking for a loopholes? This isn’t right at all. However, it can be concluded the system is outdated.

There are so many flaws. So many things that could go wrong. And yet our future rests on everything going right.

If there are so many ways for people to corrupt and take advantage of the system, then it’s definitely time for reform.

There are benefits of the College Board; however, in a society where everything and everyone is competitive maybe it’s time to change the system.

Additionally, the problem roots deeper in families paying to get high scores. Sometimes, testing isn’t the strongest aspect of a good student, and we need to have not only a diversity of personalities in school, but a diversity in intelligence, and types of students. In a progressive society, we need variety.

Why should universities and colleges be so pricy? Why can’t the students who want it, get it? Should drive and passion outweigh money, and wealth? Countries like, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Slovenia, France, as well as others have virtually a free college tuition. This surely is not an easy task, but if other countries have reached this goal, we should at least try.

It’s unfortunate that in a society where education is prioritized, there are so many obstacles and limitations to go through to prevent you from obtaining it. How many more cheating scandals will have to go public, for reform in the admission process?