Teacher Test Cheating

University Testing

At least 52 prospective teachers in five southern states have had their scores on the PRAXIS licensing exam, made by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), canceled after an FBI investigation of an apparent test cheating ring. Six test-takers were indicted along with four individuals who allegedly organized the scheme.


According to the indictment and local newspaper sources, the test-takers -- from Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi. and Tennessee -- were charged up to $1,000 each for extra time and assistance in answering questions. An ETS-paid exam supervisor at Philander Smith College in Little Rock allowed the PRAXIS tests to be completed at a hotel and private homes.


Though ETS claimed credit for helping expose the scandal, the company's promotion of the PRAXIS exam as an absolute hurdle for licensing teachers combined with its weak supervision of exam proctoring may have helped create the climate in which widespread cheating resulted.


Several test-takers who benefited from the conspiracy were apparently granted immunity in exchange for their testimony. It is not clear what will happen to their teaching licenses or to those who have been indicted. The charges are felonies with prison sentences up to five years and/or fines of as much as a quarter million dollars.