Cheating on the SATs a Crime?

One New York State legislator, Republican Senator Kenneth LaValle, reacting to the Long Island SAT cheating scandal in October, is working to make cheating on standardized tests a crime.

According to an article by Ted Phillips in Newsday:

The bill… would create the crime of “forgery of an educational test,” a class A misdemeanor, for anyone involved in a testing impersonation scheme — either by taking the test or hiring someone else to take it. The measure would create related felony crimes for people older than 21 and repeat offenders.

He also recommended improving the identification system used when high schools administer the standardized test. Phillips:

“I am hoping . . . that we get into identification for the 21st century,” LaValle said.

James Hayward, president and chief executive of Stony Brook-based Applied DNA Sciences, said the company can embed plant DNA into photo ID cards that would be given to students. The cards could be read by a smartphone to verify their authenticity. If a counterfeit were suspected, the DNA could be extracted and matched with a matching sample kept on file. It would cost $400 to $500 to check the DNA from a card.

Yea, that sounds like a totally rational reaction.

LaValle, who represents Eastern Long Island, said earlier this month that the draconian bill was necessary due to changes in the role of SATs: “There’s probably a lot of pressure from parents for the students to get into competitive colleges. . . ..”

That, the one-test-will-determine-your-whole-future aspect of the country’s use of a single score on a somewhat questionable standardized test is perhaps the more important part of this problem to address.

Even standardized test administrators, according to Phillips, were skeptical of the appropriateness of $500 DNA test-type solutions.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer