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SAT prep books line the shelves of Barnes and Noble in New York City. An official at Claremont McKenna College admitted to falsifying the SAT scores of incoming freshman students in order to improve the school's standing in rankings from publications like U.S. News and World Report.
Claremont McKenna College in Claremont admitted in a release Monday that an official in its Office of Admissions had been padding the average SAT scores of the students it has been enrolling. From the school's president:
Earlier this month, I received information from within the College that the Office of Admission had reported inaccurate SAT statistics for the fall 2011 entering class. Upon receiving this information, I asked Jerome Garris, Vice President and Dean Emeritus, to conduct a review of this issue in coordination with the Office of Institutional Research. During Dean Garris' review of this matter, a senior administrator in the Office of Admission disclosed that he had been solely responsible for falsely reporting SAT statistics since 2005.
According to the L.A. Times, that official appears to be Richard Vos, who had been vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid.
The exaggeration of the scores was relatively minor — the average scores in sections of the test were off by about 10 to 20 points. However, the college did rise from 11th to 9th place among national liberal arts colleges in U.S. News and World Report's latest survey. The rankings are highly sought after in higher education circles.
And at Claremont, all the more, according to the New York Times:
Long considered a good school, in the last generation it has moved into the elite ranks — at least as measured by the most-popular ratings.
The college reported the falsifications to the rankings publishers, which also include the Princeton Review.
For more perspectiven on this, the Madeleine Brand Show interviewed an official at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, a professional association that safeguards quality in higher education. And the Patt Morrisson show is talking with U.S. News and World Report's data director, a former U.S. News education editor, and a spokesman for FairTest.