Since 2005, California’s Claremont McKenna College has repeatedly submitted false SAT scores to publications such as U.S. News & World Report in an attempt to boost the small, prestigious school’s ranking among the nation’s colleges and universities.
President Pamela Gann informed college staff and students about the falsified scores in an email earlier in the week, reports CBS News.
Gann explained how a “senior administrator” had admitted to the fraud and has taken responsibility for altering the records since 2005. The administrator has since resigned from his position.
Gann said the critical reading and math scores reported to U.S. News and others “were generally inflated by an average of 10-20 points each,” writes Daniel E. Slotnik and Richard Perez-Pena at the New York Times.
So far, the administrator hasn’t been named.
“At this time, we have no reason to believe that other individuals were involved,” Gann told staff.
The Princeton Review provides preparation for the SAT and also ranks colleges. Its senior vice president, Robert Franek, said that, to his knowledge, this is the first case of a college intentionally reporting incorrect data.
“We want to put out very clear information so that students can make an informed decision about their school.
“I feel like so many schools have a very clear obligation to college-bound students to report this information honestly.”
The Princeton Review bases its college rankings on student opinion rather than test data, so Franek can’t say whether Claremont McKenna’s fraud made any difference in their rankings.
But Claremont McKenna is listed as the ninth-best liberal arts college in the country, according to current U.S. News rankings. With an enrollment at around 1,200 students, the SAT fraud revelation will likely have an impact on the prestigious school’s reputation.
Gann confirmed that a law firm has been hired to investigate the case.