Posted by: Louis Lavelle on September 8, 2008
The b-school dreams of nearly 100 GMAT test-takers have been shattered, with GMAC cancelling their test scores in what is likely the final chapter in one of the worst b-school cheating scandals in recent memory.
In the last few days, GMAC has been notifying students that their scores have been cancelled, and notifying schools that have received them. It’s unclear how many students had scores cancelled, but Joe Fox, the head of the MBA program at Washington University’s Olin Business School, said he received a GMAC letter this morning stating that the total was fewer than 100.
A second letter to b-school representatives listed the names of individuals with cancelled scores that were reported to each institution. At Olin, Fox said, only one applicant’s score was cancelled, and that applicant had already been rejected. Contacted late Monday, Fox was breathing an audible sigh of relief. Had the cancelled score belonged to someone currently enrolled or a graduate, Fox would have a difficult decision to make. “I’m really happy it’s not someone we had a more active engagement with.”
Contacted on Monday, GMAC spokesperson Judith Phair said the organization would make an official statement tomorrow, and release an "frequently asked questions" about the latest developments.
The original story broke nearly 3 months ago after GMAC, which publishes the test, shut down an illegitimate test prep Web site, Scoretop.com, and began investigating subscribers to the VIP section of the site. GMAC alleged that many subscribers had access to GMAT test questions before taking the test themselves. Unlike legitimate test prep services, which use retired questions, some of the questions available on scoretop were "live" questions--still being used on current tests--that were posted there by individuals after having taken the exam.
GMAC threatened to cancel the scores for any individual found to have posted live questions on the site, or who accessed live questions before taking the test. Applicants could be rejected, current students could be expelled, and graduates could have their degrees revoked. That prospect terrified many, who flooded the businessweek.com web site with thousands of comments.
It's unclear whether GMAC would allow individuals with cancelled scores to retake the test, or barr them indefinitely, as it has said it would in the past. It's also unclear how individual schools will react and whether individuals will be given a chance to appeal the GMAC decision or any action taken by the schools.
BusinessWeek will be following this story starting with the GMAC announcement tomorrow. Check this blog and visit businessweek.com/bschools tomorrow for updates.