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August 22, 2012 10:00 AM Cheaters

By Daniel Luzer

So apparently yet another college was sort of dishonest in the material it was submitting to U.S. News & World Report. It said it had wonderful SAT scores. Its real SAT scores were a little less impressive. What’s the right way to address an issue like this?

According to an article by Laura Diamond in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Since at least 2000, Emory overstated SAT and ACT scores by reporting marks for admitted students instead of those enrolled, President Jim Wagner said last week. This inflated Emory’s scores because admitted students have higher averages. Wagner and other officials described the deception as intentional and systemic.
The investigation found the college overstated students’ class rankings. And Emory “may have” excluded the scores of the bottom 10 percent of students when reporting SAT/ACT scores, GPAs and other information, officials said. This practice was not done after 2004, officials said.

The fallout from this deception is apparently not going to be so severe, however. The AJC article indicates that some people involved in submitting the misleading data have found other jobs.

Earlier this year California’s Claremont-McKenna College admitted to systematically lying about its students’ Scholastic Aptitude Test scores, inflating scores by 10 to 20 points.

According to Diamond’s article:

The incorrect data was reported to third parties and was used by those who rank colleges. U.S. News & World Report said Friday that the faulty data would not have affected the school’s current No. 20 ranking and would likely have had a “small to negligible effect” in the years prior. Emory has been a top 20 school for 19 years. New rankings are expected as soon as next month.

Well okay, but shouldn’t Emory University be punished just for cheating at all? In most of the rest of the world institutions get hurt for deception alone; not just for deception that appears to represent meaningful achievement.

Does the cheating matter, really? How long will it take before the university actually goes down in the rankings due to the deception? How bad does it have to get?

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer