Claremont Mckenna College admits to falsifying SAT scores

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Claremont McKenna College President Pamela Gann reported to the CMC community that since 2005, the Office of Admission has inflated the stats of test scores for incoming classes. A senior administrator in the Office admitted to moving the scores up by an average of 10 to 20 points each year.

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<p>In</a> SAT Score Scandal, CMC Admissions Dean Richard Vos Resigns|Claremont Port Side</p>

<p>Amid this scandal, the website has removed the banner on its website celebrating their place as 9th Best National LAC according to USNWR. As a member of Claremont's 5-College consortium, I'm saddened to see one of our schools essentially cheat to get ahead in the rankings. I can't say I'm surprised, particularly that it turned out to be CMC where image and prestige seem to be of growing importance. But it makes me wonder how many other schools out there are inflating their numbers, even by a smidgen, in the race to the top of college rankings.</p>

<p>The New York Times has already picked up this piece as well: <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/education/claremont-mckenna-college-says-it-exaggerated-sat-figures.html?_r=1%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/education/claremont-mckenna-college-says-it-exaggerated-sat-figures.html?_r=1&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

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“It’s hard for me to say, but that is a small percentage,” Mr. Franek [representing Princeton Review] said. “That is a pretty mild difference in a point score. That said, 10 points, 30 points to a student that isn’t getting that score on the SAT could be an important distinction.”

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<p>Would a 30 pt inflation in a colleges SAT score have made a difference in your decision to apply there?</p>

<p>It's what the USNWR rankings and our desperation for prestige has done to us, unfortunately. Not us, but i mean, as a population of people who place too much emphasis on perceived quality through prestige. I wonder what else other colleges have been obscuring... (class rank).</p>

<p>I take this as good news. I personally hope every college is doing this so my stats are better than I thought they were comparatively.</p>

<p>^ true, but I think it also calls for a shift in the way US colleges function, specifically with academics. The SAT and similar tests seem to be the root of many problems in recent times, from widespread (and pretty easily done) cheating and even colleges inflating scores. Not to mention the socioeconomic issues that come into play. Perhaps over the next few years admissions councils will shift their understanding of the process, and a better admissions process will come of it.</p>

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I take this as good news. I personally hope every college is doing this so my stats are better than I thought they were comparatively.

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<p>Hahaha. That's a brilliantly optimistic way to look at it. Well-played.</p>

<p>"A small percentage" in reported SAT scores can make a difference in US News rankings. CMC's reported 1310-1510 middle 50% SAT CR+M had them ranked #6 among LACs on that metric in the 2011 US News rankings. That placed them narrowly ahead of Bowdoin (1310-1500), Carleton (1300-1500), Haverford (1300-1490), and Middlebury (1290-1480). And many others were close to those figures. Honest reporting might have had CMC ranked #10 (or possibly lower) among LACs in SAT scores, a factor that accounts for 7.5% of a school's overall US News rating.</p>

<p>Credited with the inflated SAT scores and a 6th-place finish on that metric, CMC's overall US News rating score was 91, enough to edge out Haverford (with a rating of 90) for 9th place. #11 Davidson had a rating score of 89, while Washington & Lee tied with Wesleyan for #12 with rating scores of 88. It's not clear exactly where CMC would have come out had it honestly reported its SAT scores, but it almost certainly would have fallen behind Haverford for the #9 spot, and quite possibly might have fallen out of the top 10.</p>

<p>Of course, we don't know how many or which other schools also submitted falsified data. Then, too, there are "legal" forms of cheating, e.g., Bowdoin is test-optional, which almost certainly inflates its reported SAT scores because only the higher-scoring applicants will submit SAT scores, and some applicants will be admitted without standardized test scores (in which case, Bowdoin officials themselves admit, you have to assume the reason the scores weren't submitted is because they were low).</p>

<p>There's just zero verification and therefore zero integrity to this whole ranking business. Pretty sleazy stuff. But so much is at stake for the schools that it creates an incentive to cheat.</p>

<p>As soon as I saw this news item, I thought "I wonder how many CC threads there already are about this?"
They should be glad the Vassar ED screw up was a bigger news item!!</p>