California College Deals With Inflated SAT Scores

A California college deals with the backlash after an official admits to inflating SAT scores.

A liberal arts school in Claremont, California is currently dealing with the backlash after students’ SAT scores were inflated, possibly to get a better ranking.

Claremont McKenna College currently ranks ninth on the U.S. News & World Report National Liberal Arts list, up from 11th last year. The better ranking may be the cause of bumped up SAT scores.

Pamela B. Gann, the college’s president since 1999, released a memo Monday announcing that scores for critical reading and/or math were inflated by 10 to 20 points a year. She said individual scores weren’t affected. What was changed was the combined median score for the class that entered in September 2010. It should have been 1,400, but was inflated to 1,410. Another score that should have been 1,480 was increased to 1,500.

“As an institution of higher education with a deep and consistent commitment to the integrity of all our academic activities, and particularly our reporting of institutional data, we take this situation very seriously,” Gann wrote.

Gann’s memo didn’t name the official who came forward and took responsibility for the inflated SAT scores, but a story from the Los Angeles Times alleges it was Richard Vos, who was vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid. Vos is no longer listed on the school’s website.

Gann’s letter indicated that she was made aware of the score inflation this month and an internal investigation led to an administrator’s admission of guilt. The college has hired a law firm to investigate the matter further.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the school has 1,261 enrolled students.