Graduate School of Business responds to GMAT cheating scandal

Correction appended

A cheating scandal that emerged this summer involving the Graduate Management Admissions Test left GW and business schools around the country scrambling to determine which students should be held accountable.

On June 20, a federal court found, an online GMAT test preparation site, guilty of copyright infringement. Over five years, Scoretop illegally sold access to questions currently used on the exam to about 6,000 subscribers taking the GMAT.

Murat Tarimcilar, associate dean of graduate programs at the Graduate School of Business, said that the school does not know if any GW students used or visited Scoretop, but they are monitoring the situation closely as the Graduate Management Admission Council, which oversees the GMAT, conducts its investigation into the cheating.

“It has not been possible for us to independently determine which students may have used or visited Scoretop,” Tarimcilar said.

He added that the issue is a “major concern.”

Unlike test-preparation services that limit subscribers to accessing “retired” questions, or those that are no longer being used on the GMAT, Scoretop utilized “live” questions in prep-tests, which still appeared on official exams. As a result of its legal victory, GMAC could access many of Scoretop’s computer records.

The organization said it does not intend to punish those who unwittingly saw the live questions.

The University would pursue disciplinary action against any current or former student named by GMAC, Tarimcilar said.

“If any of our students are named in the investigation as intentionally being part of posting or confirming live questions, we will report the student to the academic integrity council and start an independent investigation that may lead to expulsion,” he said.

Several other business school programs released statements declaring their intended actions if any of their students are found guilty of this activity.

Chris Privett, spokesman for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, told BusinessWeek that penalties at Duke “could range from suspension to expulsion to revocation of a degree.”

With such severe, career-threatening punishments on the table for some universities, Tarimcilar said students should take precautions to prevent jeopardizing their application.

Tarimcilar said, “We hope (students) use their own common sense and judgment in deciding what resources to use in preparing for the exam.”

This article has been changed to reflect the following correction (September 2, 2008):

Due to an editing error, the final quotation in this article was misattributed to Chris Privett.

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