Do you remember that movie, The Perfect Score? It came out in 2004 and was about six high school seniors who stole the answers to the SAT test in order to ace it and get into Princeton University. Well, I’ve often heard that life imitates art, but a new story makes this phrase seem way too real.
Seven people were arrested recently for being involved in a SAT cheating scam in Long Island, New York. Samuel Eshaghoff, 19, was the oldest student who was arrested; the other six students are minors, so their names are not being released. Eshaghoff faces felony fraud charges and the others face misdemeanor charges.
Prosecutors claim that Eshaghoff impersonated six students at Great Neck North High between 2010 and 2011. He charged each student between $1,500 and $2,500 to take the SAT test for them. He then would go to a testing center that was not the students’ own school so that authorities would not realize he was using a fake form of identification to impersonate the other students.
Matin Emouna, Eshaghoff’s attorney, says that Eshaghoff is pleading not guilty to the charges that have been brought against him. He also says that cheating should be dealt with in schools, not in a courtroom.
“At what point are you going to draw the line?” Emouna said. “No one has had a case like this in the U.S., and I think attorneys are going to have a field day with it.”
However, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice feels that this is not just a small issue. In fact, it could have lifelong repercussions for the victims in this story: those students who were not accepted to their choice schools because they lost their spot to the students who cheated.
“Honest kids should not be bumped out of college slots by kids who cheated,” Rice said. “Colleges look for the best and brightest students, yet these six defendants tried to cheat the system and may have kept honest and qualified students from getting into their dream school.”
Rice also feels that the Educational Testing Service should have prevented these occurrences: “We need ETS to tighten security they have at these test centers.”
The next SAT testing dates are this weekend, and I’m willing to bet that there will be tighter security at the testing centers than there has been in the past. So, cheaters be warned: The Perfect Score is a little harder to accomplish than it appears in the movies. Also, it’s morally wrong, but that’s an entirely different matter.