Could RICO be Used to Clean Up Asian SAT Cheating?
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Blogger Education Realist responds to Reuters’ fine investigative report on the systemic cheating on the SAT going on in Asia:

As your story mentions, many public and private universities are recruiting foreign students who are mostly from China and South Korea, even though the students are cheating on applications and tests, lying about their grades and resumes. Keep in mind that universities get tax breaks and other federal funding and public universities were chartered to serve the educational needs of their states.

Meanwhile, the SAT is moving outside its old beat as a college admissions test into a high school graduation test. Several states have committed to use the SAT as a high school exit examination. Several states have switched from the ACT, which focuses on American students, to the SAT, which manifestly does not.

This isn’t just an issue for worried parents of college applicants. The College Board encourages and benefits from international criminal racketeering organizations that engage in immigration and mail fraud while enabling colleges to pretend they are accepting qualified applicants when in fact the colleges know full well their applicants lied. It collects money from multiple state contracts for a test product they can’t be bothered to spend money protecting from those organized criminal enterprises. State and private universities knowingly consume a fraudulent information product in order to fatten their coffers, all the while benefiting from tax-exempt status at both the federal and state interest.

Should the College Board be allowed to sell state contracts given its knowing participation in organized crime? Should our tax dollars be spent on universities if they are no longer acting in the public interest? Reasonable people can undoubtedly disagree on these questions. But surely they should at least be raised.

ER raises some other good points:
You know how reporters say [so and so] refused repeated requests to comment? You apparently only asked David Coleman to comment once.

David Coleman is a celebrity in the world of education reform. He is celebrated, rightly or wrongly, for Common Core standards. He took over the helm at the College Board in 2012–that fact alone should be mentioned, should it not? Presumably he was present, along with other “senior College Board staff” at the meeting with the Power Point slides in June 2013.

Coleman is not an idiot and he might actually make some progress against cheating if his feet were held to the media fire over it.

Also, ER points out that nobody ever seems to know much about the ACT, even though it is now bigger in the U.S. than the SAT. Is the ACT as vulnerable? Is the reason we seldom hear about the ACT because it has few problems? Or does the lack of attention directed at the ACT by the media allow its problems to fester in silence? I really don’t have a clue …

I’m reminded that something we are lacking in the U.S. is the profession of “standardized test critic.” We don’t need many, but we could use about two independent experts on testing who can each write well for the general public, while being up to date on psychometrics and the like.

We have a large number of high stakes standardized tests, some of which presumably are better than others. But there’s nobody in this giant country who has a well-known reputation as an objective, public-spirited expert on the pros and cons of the various tests. There’s one old liberal from the 1970s who has a little think tank that still puts out quotes for reporters denouncing standardized tests in general; but our society needs somebody more sophisticated who could shine a light on best and worst practices in testing.

Perhaps the biggest reason we don’t have an Ebert & Siskel of standardized testing is The Gap, which could always turn into a career-killer. It’s like if Roger Ebert could have gotten Watsoned at any moment for admitting that movie stars tend to be skinnier than movie reviewers. If so, Ebert probably would have found something else to do for a living.


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