Cheating on the SAT

Sam Eshaghoff, who charged up to $2,500 to take SAT exams for others, tells 60 Minutes why he did it (money) and how (easily faked high school IDs).

Eshaghoff, now a 19-year=old college student, took the SATs at least 16 times for pay. (He assumes parents came up with the money.) He doesn’t sound wracked with guilt.

I mean a kid who has a horrible grade point average, who no matter how much he studies is gonna totally bomb this test, by giving him an amazing score, I totally give him this like, a new lease on life. He’s gonna go to a totally new college, he’s gonna be bound for a totally new career and a totally new path in life.

Correspondent Alison Stewart asks if the client is “going to take the place of someone who may have actually worked for it and deserved that position.” Eshaghoff denies it, without explaining his reasoning.

Eshaghoff copped a plea to fraud and criminal impersonation and agreed to community service: tutoring low-income students on how to take the SAT. His former clients paid no penalty: “It is ETS policy not to tell schools about cases of suspected or confirmed cheating.”

SAT prep courses are a waste of money, Eshaghoff tells CBS. If you’re not a hard-working, “academically conditioned” student, you can’t study your way to significantly higher scores in six months, he believes. Yet he seems to think that the kid with horrible grades who buys his way into a better college will succeed there and go on to “a totally new career” and life path.

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