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Feds uncover admissions test cheating plot

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Replies to: Feds uncover admissions test cheating plot

  • letourletour 17 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I know many kids who are coached into accomodations who aren't wealthy, and there is absolutely no stigma to getting them-actually, those kids say they are smarter than most as they know how to work the system.

    My experience has been different. In our rural high school, accommodations are unheard of. I don't know of any kids who had taken accommodations for the ACT or SAT. It is actually a stigma at school to be sent to get extra help.
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  • northwestynorthwesty 3415 replies9 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    "I'm not sure if this has already been uncovered, however, I think one of the more shocking aspects of this saga, is the fact some parents and/or students, faked their race on the apps"

    Singer's operation was amazingly comprehensive and full service. He figured out ways to fraudulently push just about every admissions button. Fake athlete hooks. Fake race hooks. Fake testing accommodations, test sites and test scores. Fake grades via online classes. Fake applications. Fake essays.

    The sleepy admission departments were no match for such a clever and well funded operation. Singer was kind of an evil genius when it came to exploiting the system.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26656 replies174 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited May 21
    In today's WSJ - Students in Affluent Areas get extra time
    At Scarsdale High School north of New York City, one in five students is eligible for extra time or another accommodation such as a separate room for taking the SAT or ACT college entrance exam.

    At Weston High School in Connecticut, it is one in four. At Newton North High School outside Boston, it’s one in three.

    “Do I think that more than 30% of our students have a disability?” said Newton Superintendent David Fleishman. “No. We have a history of over-identification [as learning-challenged] that is certainly an issue in the district.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/many-more-students-especially-the-affluent-get-extra-time-to-take-the-sat-11558450347?mod=hp_lead_pos1


    Such game playing was only a matter of time once CB settled teh lawsuit and agreed to stop flagging extra time test scores.
    edited May 21
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  • goddess00goddess00 15 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    GAO does extensive, published research on education, disability, statistics on percentages and so on. The % of students with accommodations at top tier privates and publics (i.e not schools designed for students with learning disabilities) is quadruple those in public schools. I.e per the above link 20% or 25% is a huge number. For $5000 you can buy a neuropsych evaluation. That skews the occurrence to families with the money.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2330 replies5 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Disability per the ADA, is much more broad than just a learning challenge. Medical conditions like diabetes, or needing a wheelchair would be covered, even if the students did not have a LD. While accommodation requests are being abused no doubt, the superintendent may want consider disabilities more broadly.

    "The sleepy admission departments were no match for such a clever and well funded operation. Singer was kind of an evil genius when it came to exploiting the system."

    Or aware and somewhat complicit admission department. A HBO miniseries featuring him and the guy that ran TM Landry could be pretty juicy, now that GoT has ended.
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  • PetraMCPetraMC 710 replies5 postsRegistered User Member
    Unneeded accommodations elicits knowing eye rolls at my children's schools but I wouldn't call it a stigma. 30% sounds roughly right.
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  • epiphanyepiphany 8404 replies170 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    New Podcast Explores College Admissions Scandal:
    https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/college-admissions-scandal-operation-varsity-blues-podcast-gangster-capitalism-835229/

    I heard a commercial for this podcast on the radio yesterday. It was introduced "urgently," shall we say, with warnings about how "it will affect your own children."

    Here's more from Rolling Stone:
    The podcast features original interviews with college admissions experts, reporters and students who admitted to cheating on the SATs to get into the college of their choice. Gangster Capitalism also stages dramatic recreations of the phone conversations that were taped by the FBI as part of its investigation, the transcripts of which are featured in the 204-page affidavit the FBI released last March. One of the phone conversations recreated in the first episode involves Felicity Huffman, the former Desperate Housewives star.

    “We felt that bringing the transcriptions of the conversations in the affidavit to life was the most dramatic and efficient way to portray both the inner-workings of Rick Singer’s scheme, as well as how brazen and egregious this all was,” Zak Levitt, executive vice president of production at C13Originals, tells Rolling Stone. “It’s all there, laid out in vivid detail, and hearing it not only illustrates the crimes, but it really shines a light on many of the larger aspects of this story, like wealth, greed, obsession with status, and even a sense of moral ambiguity.”

    Notably, the podcast features audio of Jenks’ confrontational encounter with Singer outside of a community center pool in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the mastermind of the college admissions scandal was recently spotted.

    I won't be listening to it; don't need to, but it's interesting that the story has moved from news to entertainment.
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  • letourletour 17 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    There is definitely a high discrepancy in accommodations between rich/poor urban/rural schools. In our rural school accommodations are unheard of. I only realized it was a thing when we visited good friends in Miami, FL. Their son had just taken the ACT at his school with an accommodation for extra time. He was placed in a different room than the standard time kids. I commented that it must have been lonely there that day. He said no, about half the class got extra time! That floored me.
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  • houndmomhoundmom 302 replies11 postsRegistered User Member
    I don't know what percentage of kids at our high school receive testing accommodations, but it sure seems to be growing. 30% + would not surprise me.

    My kids are fine testers - well above average in normal world, but "hang your head in shame" on CC/top university-crazed world. I have had several parents strongly suggest I have them checked so they can get more time. I think it's an issue that becoming more and more a problem especially in competitive, wealthy areas.

    And that's just standardized testing. Kids get extra time for in school tests, need private space, etc because they have any number of learning or mental health issues. Of course, some must be legitimate, but this phenomena has grown at an insane rate over last 5 years.

    I really wonder how these kids are going to manage in the real world.
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  • letourletour 17 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I really wonder how these kids are going to manage in the real world.

    I think they'll manage just fine. Getting into elite schools is much harder than actually graduating from them. After that, education, connections, and other inherent advantages helps them ride the wave until accommodations are no longer needed.
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  • houndmomhoundmom 302 replies11 postsRegistered User Member
    @letour I'm not so sure. I know a lot of kids who have been managed and coddled their whole lives. What to they do when their boss expects a report on time? Will anyone care if they graduated from a top school if they are a lousy employee? Time will tell ...
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  • epiphanyepiphany 8404 replies170 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I really wonder how these kids are going to manage in the real world.
    I don't "wonder" how a mere accommodation for a unique standardized test that will not be duplicated in almost any work environment will hinder a grown-up from "managing in the real world."

    The educational environment -- the intellectual dimension of it -- is unlike the "real world" of everyday responsibility and work. Those of us who have taught genuinely LD students are aware that there's an artificial quality to academic performance because it involves certain kinds of cognitive processing and instant performance of that processing that will not be required of them in the same way and in the same structure as real adult life will. A work deadline is not the same thing as a cognitive performance deadline ("3 hours for this test," etc.)

    A current LD student of mine performs better on physical tasks that are deadline-driven than on cognitive tasks that are deadline driven. In fact, he performs supremely on the former. Concrete tasks such as the building of edifices he will be doing in real life, such as the adult responsibilities all of us face, are tasks he has already shown he is capable of meeting, handsomely. (He has held down jobs, he has exercised independent decision-making within time frames, etc.)

    That said, the one area that i.m.o. has been overblown/overdramatized and advocated-for is the whole "Executive Functioning" label. It's a "disability" unique to the late-20th and early 21st centuries. When asked to describe this, advocates speak of anxiety and extreme dependency. It seems to me that some of that can be addressed through psychotherapy, maybe better addressed than creating an entire new "disability" class. I worry much more about such heavily assisted students, because there's no question that once a student is out of the academic environment, he or she will need to be independently functional unless willing to remain forever crippled.
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  • letourletour 17 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @houndmom Perhaps true. Of course, more than the name of the school, drive and hard work are still big determinants of success. What is clear is that some accomplished and successful parents have made the determination that accommodations for their kids in high school is a good bet. That is why accommodation rates are so much higher in wealthy schools.
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  • houndmomhoundmom 302 replies11 postsRegistered User Member
    @ephiphany I was only referring to kids whose parents have manipulated the system to be granted unnecessary accommodations. I don't think real learning disabilities are part of the OVB scandal.

    Agree that just gaming to get your kids some extra time on the SAT/ACT is not ruining them for life ... but in my experience that is usually just one of many ways parents are trying to give their kid a head start. Grades are challenged, deadlines extended, and that's just the academic side. I'll bet we have all seen outrageous behavior from parents who want their kid on the varsity team or to get more playing time.

    Personal example - Last night I heard my husband on the phone with someone who had not delivered for one of his clients. Wow. I would not want to be on the receiving end of that call. Anyone who wants to make big bucks in business or Wall Street better be willing to put in long hours and develop thick skin. The higher the stakes, the higher the pressure.

    I suppose the families implicated in this scandal can continue to support their kids. But, even in wealthy areas, most people have a limit to how long they can sustain it.
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  • iaparentiaparent 264 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Apparently it doesn't end with high school. My son got back from his second year at a state flagship and we were talking about school in general. He brought up that he has thought about claiming test anxiety. We were not talking about accommodations at all so this came from out of the blue. I asked him what he meant and he said that anyone that goes to the university and says they have test anxiety gets accommodations. He learned this from someone in his dorm his freshman year that just walked in claiming test anxiety and was handed a card.

    My son said in every class there is typically an announcement "next class period will be the midterm. Anyone with a card report to room X, those without a card report to this room for the exam". He said in most classes the original classroom/lecture hall is half full on test days. This floored me.

    In thinking about it, I guess it makes sense. There is no way a university can diligently evaluate all of the requests that come from a campus with 40,000 undergrads so it is safer to grant them all rather than turn down a valid request. It ultimately hurts the honest student but given the admission scandal does that surprise anyone?
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33093 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    College test anxiety may get you more time, but you still need to know the material. It's not like those kids only get the easy half of a test.
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  • epiphanyepiphany 8404 replies170 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Grades are challenged, deadlines extended, and that's just the academic side. I'll bet we have all seen outrageous behavior from parents who want their kid on the varsity team or to get more playing time.
    Yes, but what you're talking about has nothing to do with genuine LD, so I do not find it helpful to lump LD students and their parents into the epidemic of helicopter parenting. This student I mentioned is at the point where he hopes no one at school brings up the extra time he needs because there remains a great deal of stereotyping. He is not "advantaged." A learning disability is a disadvantage. The only thing that extra time does for such a student is to allow him to do the best that he is capable of, which will not be what competitive non-LD students are capable of, academically. (Hint: It will be less.)
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  • PetraMCPetraMC 710 replies5 postsRegistered User Member
    More time on the ACT can make a huge difference.

    Like the poster above, I've had other parents suggest doing this, even after a very strong, but not very top score.
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  • epiphanyepiphany 8404 replies170 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    More time on the ACT can make a huge difference.
    It has made a modest but important difference for two LD students I have taught: in one case, from a 12 to the low 20's, if I remember correctly. In the second case, from low 20's to high 20's. Neither score is elite college material, so everyone can relax about how supposedly manipulative LD students with a genuine diagnosis are.

    Again, huge in LD terms is not huge for the rest of the world.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26656 replies174 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Olivia wants to go back to school (USC), per that noted news source, US Weekly.

    https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/olivia-jade-giannulli-wants-to-go-back-to-usc-amid-college-scam/
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