Test Cheating and Government Corruption

By: Tonya Mead, CFE, PI, MBA,MA Educational Psychology

The scandals of standardized test cheating have ventured beyond the k-12 elementary, secondary, and post secondary schools to test taking for career advancement, life skills and legal residency.

Today it was reported that three men in the UK were alleged to have sat for driving tests of unlicensed applicants, charging the equivalent of almost $2,000 a piece. A few days ago, a group of 15 Chinese nationals were indicted for paying imposters to sit for college entrance exams at testing facilities in the Pittsburgh area.

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Cheating is rampant in the US and abroad. There are even How-To sites explaining how to cheat like a pro, advice on outsmarting multiple choice questions, using school supplies to cheat, ways technology can help cheaters, sneaky ways to cheat on exams, and  clever ways to cheat.

What does the acceptance of cheating say about society and civil servants who help govern and provide services to society? A National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania found that college students studying in India “who cheated on a simple task were more likely to want government jobs.  Based upon the 6,000 subject study, it was recommended that governments should improve upon pre-employment screening. Rema Hanna, an associate professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard stated “if people have the view that jobs in government are corrupt, people who are honest might not want to get into that system.”

Tonya J. Mead, CFE, PI, MBA, MA, Certified K-12 Administrator and School Psychologist is author of Fraud in Education: Beyond the Wrong Answer and president of Shared Knowledge, LLC