Test Cheating: A Worldwide Phenomenon

General Testing

As high-stakes standardized exams spread across the globe with more occupations and institutions requiring high scores on one-shot tests, the incidence of reported cheating increases accordingly.


In Bangladesh, for instance, 7,000 students were expelled for cheating on final exams in the nation's universities. Riots broke out when police tried to stop students friends and relatives from providing written answers to test items. Hundreds of people were reported injured in the resulting violence in several cities.


Similarly, in Cambodia, police had to encircle schools to prevent crib sheets from being passed to thirteen and fourteen year old students taking high school entrance tests. Local bookstores, where copies of previous and possibly current exams were for sale, were reported to overflow with customers. Several years ago, officials were forced to launch an anti-corruption campaign to expose Education Ministry exam graders who were accepting bribes.


Closer to home on New York City's Wall Street, the National Association of Security Dealers (NASD) is investigating dozens of stockbrokers who may have paid impostors to take employment licensing tests. The cheating allegedly occurred on the Series 7 exam, required for those who sell a range of investment products, as well as the Series 63 test, which state security regulators must pass. NASD is relying on handwriting analyses to decide who did not actually take the test and will seek to ban them from licensing. Newspaper reports indicate that the price to have someone else sit for the exam approached $2,500.


Assessments based on genuine performance over extended periods of time, not a few hours of filling in bubbles or responding to a simple prompt, are far less susceptible to these forms of manipulation.