Posted by: Louis Lavelle on June 23, 2008
Folks, we just posted an important story on the business school channel about an effort by GMAC to identify prospective MBA students who may have used the Scoretop web site to get a leg up on the exam.
What GMAC is contemplating is pretty extreme: anyone caught using the site will have thier GMAT scores cancelled, the schools that received them will be notified, the student will not be allowed to retake the exam, and they could face civil and/or criminal prosecution. For more than 1,000 students and applicants, a lot is hanging in the balance.
I’d really like to hear from individuals who have used the Scoretop site, which allows students who have taken the test to report the questions they received, and allows students who are getting ready to take the test to see those “live” questions.
I think there's a real debate that needs to take place. GMAC says that the students who reported the questions to the site, the site that displayed them, and the test takers who accessed them are all violating the GMAC copyright. Do test takers who take part in this know they're breaking the law? Does it qualify as cheating in any sense of the word?
Considering the miniscule advantage that sites like Scoretop provide, is GMAC's reaction an over-reaction? What should schools do in the case of applicants, current students, and graduates who submitted tainted scores? Let them slide, or reject their applications, throw them out of school, and rescind their degrees? Is there a middle way--something that recognizes the gravity of the mistake that was made but doesn't make students pay the ultimate price?
How does this stack up against the other big transgressions for which MBA students stand accused? (The story mentions a Chinese national who was caught taking the GMAT for dozens of prosepective students; but what about the Duke cheating scandal? Or the applicants to Harvard who were rejected a few years ago when the school found out they hacked into a computer to learn their admissions status?)
Does it matter whether you left questions for others to read, read questions that others have left, or both? Or are all visitors to the Scoretop site equally implicated?
Over the next few weeks, as GMAC digs into the Scoretop hard drive to figure out who spent time on the site, the schools will have to decide all these things and more. This is a chance to let them know what you think, while there's still time to influence the outcome.