You make some very interesting and valid points... I respectfully disagree with a few of them...
From the ETS Ad council to discourage cheating (see previous post for link):
80% of the country's best students cheated to get to the top of their class.
More than half the students surveyed said that they don't think cheating is a big deal.
95% of cheaters say they were not caught.
40% cheated on a quiz or a test
67% copied someone else's homework
I think being at the top of the class helps alot in getting into good schools (since class rank is based on GPA, it seems fairly likely that students are cheating on more than one instance to get to the top).
I've read somewhere between 7 and 17 percent of college students are repeat offenders. The fact that I can find alot of different surveys on this seems to indicate this is a rather widespread problem.
The Fairtest factsheet on the GMAT shows that schools like Harvard at one time even stopped using the GMAT because it was poor at predicting success (I must concede that Harvard reinstated their GMAT test later on after the GMAT added the writing sample, as I recall). Further, in my reading, I have found that a surprising number of schools (more than just a couple) are down grading the importance of tests like the SAT. (I will also concede that sometimes statistics can be manipulated).
The only message I'd like to put forth is that widespread cheating is not limited to one particular group or nationality. Hopefully, things will improve as more cheaters are caught. As some of the readings suggest, cheating appears to be a symptom of a more serious problem in society today (what is as troubling than the number of instances of cheating, is how many students don't see why this is big deal).
Here are a few interesting excerpts to consider:
From http://www.oakridger.com/stories/082702 ... 20047.html
"Caperton said he hoped the writing exam -- included after the University of California system threatened to stop using the SAT -- would "serve as a call to educators to emphasize strong writing skills." The SAT's testing rival, the ACT, announced Monday it would offer an optional essay starting in 2004."
"NEW FAIRTEST ANALYSIS FINDS:
MORE THAN 700 4-YEAR COLLEGES DO NOT USE SAT I OR ACT SCORES
TO ADMIT SUBSTANTIAL NUMBERS OF BACHELOR DEGREE APPLICANTS"
"Deemphasing standardized test scores is an excellent way to comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court endorsement of 'holistic' admissions." The FairTest count is based on a systematic review of the College Board's 2003 College Handbook and other guide books, information posted on college and university websites, and interviews with school officials."
"Colleges and universities eliminate test score requirements for many reasons" explained Bob Schaeffer, FairTest's Public Education Director. "Many are concerned about the negative impact on race and gender equity that results from relying on test scores. Others recognize that high-priced coaching programs artificially boost the scores of students who can afford them. Most agree that scores from a three hour exam add little of value to an applicant's portfolio."
Sorry for taking this discussion off on a tangent... This is a really interesting (and addictive) discussion... But, I guess we should get back to the task at hand... getting through the GMAT!