SAT Cheaters: Busted

Leah Canonico and Leah Canonico

Last month, seven young adults were arrested in Long Island, New York as a result of an alleged SAT cheating ring. At least six high school students paid 19-year-old college student Sam Eshaghoff thousands of dollars to take the test for them, prosecutors said.

Eshagoff, a 2010 graduate of Great Neck North High School, spent his freshman year at the University of Michigan before transferring to Emory University where he is currently a student.  Eshaghoff allegedly flew home from school just to take the test twice in the same weekend, according to prosecutors. The students registered for Eshaghoff to take the test in different schools in their district so he would not be recognized.

As many juniors and seniors may know, students are required to present photo identification as well as their admission ticket when signing in for their SATs. Prosecuters said that Eshagoff presented  a fake ID card with the students’ name and his photo. Surprisingly enough, Egashoff was even able to pass as a female student.

Eshaghoff is facing charges for scheme to defraud, falsifying business records and criminal impersonation. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison. The other six students are facing misdemeanor charges and have not been identified because of their ages.

There are many ways officials can detect fraud. What typically triggers an inquiry is at least a 350-point increase in the combined SAT math and critical reading compared to previous test scores. Officials will also examine handwriting from test to test.

However, the most “sophisticated” tool says an SAT official is an “algorithm” that compares answers of kids sitting near each other during the test. The program looks for patterns of answers answered incorrectly. Correct answers will all look alike. But incorrect answers should have different patterns. When kids are collaborating, the wrong answers follow an identical pattern.

The SATs are all about doing your best.  Don’t ruin your reputation, and more importantly your future, by being dishonest. For tips on how to do well on the SATs, read pantherbook’s article: