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Another Cheating Scandal

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New post 03 Jul 2008, 11:48
kidderek,

First, an apology is in order, from me to you. I did not "single" you out - the only sentence that I meant to address you was the "zealot" part based on my reading of your posts. Bad choice of words. In the rest of the post, the term "you" meant all the readers - as in addressing the audience, it wasn't "you", so I'm sorry about that and I'm fixing my post to rid it of the confusion. As far as your rebuttals to my post go, it doesn't matter, we all have our opinions.

Nevertheless, I stand by my remaining assertions. My point is simply this: it is very easy to taint a population by a brush, it really doesn't matter how much we scream our purity and innocence, the fact is all it takes is one damaging article on us too, and we will have people baying for our blood. I hate that happening to us. To me, it is better to let a few guilty go free than hang innocents - I keep saying that because my focus is on the innocents and not the guilty. With that in mind, I refuse to make sweeping generalizations.

Anyway, the topic of who may be guilty and who not is done to death. The CEO of GMAC said that there are always innocent surfers, so their focus first is on the distributors and that I believe is the right first step. Too much has been said already, so let us watch what really happens. And with that, I end my posts.


kidderek wrote:
justforthisone wrote:



justforthisone - Your post is full of inaccuracies and once I collect my thoughts, I'll tell you where you are wrong. However, we are all pretty much in agreement. And yes, I am more zealous than others. It's pretty cowardly of you to single me out while posting anonymously. Besides, how can anyone be blase about large groups cheating that negatively affects his score?
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 12:18
justforthisone wrote:
kidderek,

First, an apology is in order, from me to you. I did not "single" you out - the only sentence that I meant to address you was the "zealot" part based on my reading of your posts. Bad choice of words. In the rest of the post, the term "you" meant all the readers - as in addressing the audience, it wasn't "you", so I'm sorry about that and I'm fixing my post to rid it of the confusion. As far as your rebuttals to my post go, it doesn't matter, we all have our opinions.

Nevertheless, I stand by my remaining assertions. My point is simply this: it is very easy to taint a population by a brush, it really doesn't matter how much we scream our purity and innocence, the fact is all it takes is one damaging article on us too, and we will have people baying for our blood. I hate that happening to us. To me, it is better to let a few guilty go free than hang innocents - I keep saying that because my focus is on the innocents and not the guilty. With that in mind, I refuse to make sweeping generalizations.

Anyway, the topic of who may be guilty and who not is done to death. The CEO of GMAC said that there are always innocent surfers, so their focus first is on the distributors and that I believe is the right first step. Too much has been said already, so let us watch what really happens. And with that, I end my posts.


kidderek wrote:
justforthisone wrote:



justforthisone - Your post is full of inaccuracies and once I collect my thoughts, I'll tell you where you are wrong. However, we are all pretty much in agreement. And yes, I am more zealous than others. It's pretty cowardly of you to single me out while posting anonymously. Besides, how can anyone be blase about large groups cheating that negatively affects his score?


Adcoms have too much experience to fall prey to overgeneralizations and know that a diverse student body is key to their schools' long-term success. Articulate applicants from outside the US with thoughtful essays and solid career progression can expect to be admitted to good programs.
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 12:20
Audio wrote:
riverripper wrote:
... It definitely seems to be a cultural thing, it really doesnt seem like they think their is anything wrong with what they are doing...its not an excuse but its harder to blame people who dont really believe that its as wrong as we do.


I can't believe people don't think that they are doing is not wrong. They either don't understand the situation, don't know what the test is or are lying to themselves. Therefore I don't believe that it's a cultural thing. I just think that it's due to the fact that these people are desperate to do well and get themselves out of poverty, and most importantly, they have the logistical possibility to cheat thanks to their sheer number.


I'm not sure if I agree completely. Just to bring this discussion onto a different path (since the other parts of it have been beaten to death already), what us Americans (and many other countries in the world) think is "wrong" might not be "wrong" in the eyes of other cultures. Granted, I'm not sure about whether people in China believe that getting live questions to practice is "cheating" or not, but an example would be the disregard for law in China (and other countries). All my life, I've observed the various levels of disregard for law in the Chinese community, whether it's minor from giving you a discount if you pay by cash (so they don't have to report it on their taxes) to people driving right through stoplights and stop signs in places like Taiwan and China, to the blatant bribing and corruption that happens at all levels of the Chinese government. Yes, the central government dishes out brutal punishments if you're caught receiving a bribe (execution), but it's still everywhere.

That makes me wonder if it's just an ingrained cultural thing. they might know that it's "wrong" based on the law (which was influenced by the West anyways), but deep down they don't see why it's wrong to get things down using "guan xi" (relationships), whether it be nepotism or bribery.

Just to be clear, I'm not condoning or condemning the Chinese for their cultural behaviors (I'm Chinese American myself), nor am I saying that the GMAT cheaters did not violate US Law (since GMAC is a US entity). But sometimes I wonder if we Americans are too zealous about making the entire world see things our way, and if a culture does things differently, it's "wrong" and needs to be fixed.

I would be interested to hear others' viewpoints on this pondering of mine. :)
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 12:54
jasonc wrote:
Ian was breaking down the numbers under a number of assumptions (as he stated) to understand if its possible to identify problematic questions by data-mining, NOT to approximate the potential impact of this scandal.


Yes, precisely- I was only exploring (based on a number of questionable assumptions, but that's the best I can do) whether GMAC could have identified problematic questions by looking at how test-takers performed on the test. I wasn't considering the extent to which JJ-users might have influenced the calibration of diagnostic questions, nor the score improvement a JJ-user might have received by knowing answers in advance.

I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation to see how far all of this may have affected the calibration of questions (using the GMAT's IRT model), and found that 'known' questions would have been calibrated to be 3% of one standard deviation easier than the level at which they should have been calibrated had no one seen any questions in advance. Effectively, that means a question that would be considered a "36" level question (on the 60 scale) would instead have been calibrated to be a "35.6" level question. Note that this only affected the 'known' questions, which I've guessed was 20% of the question pool. This might have knocked a very small number of legitimate test-takers' scores down by 1 scaled point, but almost certainly no more than that. This is all based on many simplistic assumptions, however. In particular, I'm making simplistic assumptions about the distribution of difficulty levels in JJs (I'm assuming an equal distribution), and using a simplistic calibration model (calibration is an elaborate mathematical process in reality).

It is considerably more difficult, mathematically, to estimate how much of an impact knowing eight questions in advance would have on your score. The impact, however, is certain to be considerable, provided the answers to some difficult questions are known. If I assume there's at least some minimal legitimacy to the calculations I've done, I'd suggest the following conclusions:

-GMAC would not have been able to determine, by analyzing the performance of test-takers on individual questions, which questions had been made available in JJs;

-JJ-users likely had a minimal effect on the calibration of diagnostic GMAT questions, and this effect may have led a very small proportion of test-takers to receive a scaled score one point lower than they deserved;

-JJ-users likely received a substantial benefit from knowing several 'live' questions in advance of their test.

Still, as I've mentioned, the data just isn't available to work out anything precise here, and I wouldn't put too much faith in any of the conclusions above. If any more data comes to light, I'll try to update the figures.
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 12:57
kryzak wrote:
Audio wrote:
riverripper wrote:
... It definitely seems to be a cultural thing, it really doesnt seem like they think their is anything wrong with what they are doing...its not an excuse but its harder to blame people who dont really believe that its as wrong as we do.


I can't believe people don't think that they are doing is not wrong. They either don't understand the situation, don't know what the test is or are lying to themselves. Therefore I don't believe that it's a cultural thing. I just think that it's due to the fact that these people are desperate to do well and get themselves out of poverty, and most importantly, they have the logistical possibility to cheat thanks to their sheer number.


I'm not sure if I agree completely. Just to bring this discussion onto a different path (since the other parts of it have been beaten to death already), what us Americans (and many other countries in the world) think is "wrong" might not be "wrong" in the eyes of other cultures. Granted, I'm not sure about whether people in China believe that getting live questions to practice is "cheating" or not, but an example would be the disregard for law in China (and other countries). All my life, I've observed the various levels of disregard for law in the Chinese community, whether it's minor from giving you a discount if you pay by cash (so they don't have to report it on their taxes) to people driving right through stoplights and stop signs in places like Taiwan and China, to the blatant bribing and corruption that happens at all levels of the Chinese government. Yes, the central government dishes out brutal punishments if you're caught receiving a bribe (execution), but it's still everywhere.

That makes me wonder if it's just an ingrained cultural thing. they might know that it's "wrong" based on the law (which was influenced by the West anyways), but deep down they don't see why it's wrong to get things down using "guan xi" (relationships), whether it be nepotism or bribery.

Just to be clear, I'm not condoning or condemning the Chinese for their cultural behaviors (I'm Chinese American myself), nor am I saying that the GMAT cheaters did not violate US Law (since GMAC is a US entity). But sometimes I wonder if we Americans are too zealous about making the entire world see things our way, and if a culture does things differently, it's "wrong" and needs to be fixed.

I would be interested to hear others' viewpoints on this pondering of mine. :)


As a Chinese American (Taiwanese American to be more precise) I also disagree with Audio.
I was going to respond earlier, but was still thinking of how to voice my disagreement eloquently - I'm glad Kry helped out :)
A few things as Kry pointed out
1) They may not (or may) believe getting live questions is cheating.
2) The value placed on relationships - a very important concept in Asian societies that is somewhat in contrast to the value placed on individualism in the western world.

In their minds - if we're not violating any state laws (and they're not => even if they are, as Kry pointed out, it may not matter) then why wouldn't we help out our fellow friends/family/countryman? Bending the rules sometimes (especially since they may either be ignorant of the GMAC rules, or choose to disregard the rules because its made by some western company for a western biased test and not equally reflective of analytical/reading abilities of foreigners anyways) to strengthen relationships is common, and perhaps an accepted cultural norm.

I don't know, I guess my main point is, just because you can't see this as stemming from a cultural difference doesn't mean its not :)
I'm not sure if you're an American or not, but cultural bias/ignorance is very pervasive in America (Being an American - I'm often times guilty of this as well).
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 13:12
justforthisone wrote:
kidderek,

First, an apology is in order, from me to you.


Apology accepted.

I actually re-read the entire thread. Yes, very slow day at work today, as I'm sure it is for all of you as well. Anyway, the original link points to the article where they say that all scoretop members knew of the "live" questions. I think that's where the confusion may have arose. I, as well as others, based our punishments on that article.

Obviously, the facts are still not set in stone, and as the facts change, so does my opinion.

With that said, I would zealously protect those who were not "in the know" as I would zealously persecute those who knowingly cheated.
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 13:15
by the way, isn't gmat test adaptive? that means not everyone will see the same questions on their tests????? plus, gmat says they have over 1000 questions in their software bank....hmmm....how could that scew someone's score??? :!:
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 13:16
kryzak wrote:
That makes me wonder if it's just an ingrained cultural thing. they might know that it's "wrong" based on the law (which was influenced by the West anyways), but deep down they don't see why it's wrong to get things down using "guan xi" (relationships), whether it be nepotism or bribery.


Wait what? You mean it's unethical to have your little brother fix the election of the state that he runs and have your daddy's "old boy" friends confirm your theft as legal in the name of national continuity so that you can steal the presidency. Nothing unethical about that. But let's not get too political.
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 13:26
kidderek wrote:
Wait what? You mean it's unethical to have your little brother fix the election of the state that he runs and have your daddy's "old boy" friends confirm your theft as legal in the name of national continuity so that you can steal the presidency. Nothing unethical about that. But let's not get too political.


No need for sarcasm, kidderek. :) Again, my point is that sometimes we (whether Americans or people who hold Western values) try to apply our own version of ethics and morality onto the rest of the world with no regard for others' beliefs. That is why I brought up this point in light of this cheating scandal.
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 13:27
wawatan wrote:
by the way, isn't gmat test adaptive? that means not everyone will see the same questions on their tests????? plus, gmat says they have over 1000 questions in their software bank....hmmm....how could that scew someone's score??? :!:


Getting just a few more questions correct, especially on the verbal section (especially if the live answers you already know are on the hardest questions) can certainly increase your score 5-8 points. The difference from a q45/v40 and a q45/v48 is huge. Just huge.
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 13:33
kryzak wrote:
kidderek wrote:
Wait what? You mean it's unethical to have your little brother fix the election of the state that he runs and have your daddy's "old boy" friends confirm your theft as legal in the name of national continuity so that you can steal the presidency. Nothing unethical about that. But let's not get too political.


No need for sarcasm, kidderek. :) Again, my point is that sometimes we (whether Americans or people who hold Western values) try to apply our own version of ethics and morality onto the rest of the world with no regard for others' beliefs. That is why I brought up this point in light of this cheating scandal.



I thought I was being sarcastic in your favor. Did it not come out correctly?
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 13:47
kidderek wrote:
I thought I was being sarcastic in your favor. Did it not come out correctly?


Maybe I read it incorrectly? :P Nevermind, all is well. :)
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 14:13
kidderek wrote:
kryzak wrote:
That makes me wonder if it's just an ingrained cultural thing. they might know that it's "wrong" based on the law (which was influenced by the West anyways), but deep down they don't see why it's wrong to get things down using "guan xi" (relationships), whether it be nepotism or bribery.


Wait what? You mean it's unethical to have your little brother fix the election of the state that he runs and have your daddy's "old boy" friends confirm your theft as legal in the name of national continuity so that you can steal the presidency. Nothing unethical about that. But let's not get too political.


Give me a break...hopefully that is meant to be a joke. After all, everyone here is TRYING to be objective here and state facts, not opinions.
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 14:24
I don't buy the cultural acceptabilty argument. That is such BS. So when people start leading US organizations, can we apply that same argument when they cheat? Oh it is okay that they said there profit was a million dollars when in reality they lost a million dollars. It's ok, their culture accepts that. What is right and wrong , especially in a case like this. It is pretty cut and dry. If you are not sure, then read the agreement you sign when you register and take the test.

They cheated because they thought they'd be able to get away with it. When you are online you have a sense of anonymity. You probably feel you are invincible. They might also feel that everyone is doing it, since they are around people that do that, but that doesn't mean they don't understand what they are doing is wrong. The pressure that these cultures place on high scoring, and how competitive it is for those demographics also contribute to cheating. However that is no excuse.

They should come down hard on people they can CONFIRM worked with these questions. People may think twice about cheating when they see peoples MBA dreams shattered.

Sometimes you have to accept the consequences of your actions.
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 14:41
terp26, no need to be so angry. :) I don't think ANY of us are saying that it's OK to cheat because of cultural acceptability. I have explicitly stated that since this is a GMAC issue and GMAC is a US company (and those who were involved were probably applying to US schools), then the US laws and ethical code applies and they should be punished for cheating. Culture is not an excuse to break a US law.

what I'm trying to bring up is an understanding of why this is prevalent, and how does culture play into this? I also wanted to explore the American notion that "we're right, they're wrong" and being the "police of the world". I do think that many times the US has it right, but I wanted to caution people against blindly applying our (US/Western) ethics/morality on the rest of the world.

It's not 100% relevant to this specific scandal, but since we've beaten the original topic to death already, we might as well explore the bigger picture. Remember, these days, the US is no longer the only big market in the world. With many of the previously "developing" countries rising up with different ethics/moral codes than the US, we, business people who need to learn to look out beyond the US have to be aware of the issues that we may face in the future when we branch out internationally.
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 14:47
ha okkk im not angry anymore :) lol Well if people were not aware of the impact of cheating or obtaining live questions, they will now
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 18:43
I'm not a native English speaker. All those weekends I've spent reading books throughout my life, all the times I proofread my own papers until the grammar was just right, all those vocabulary words memorized through context clues, all the words I would pronounce over and over until I said them the "American way"...thats my GMAT story right there - hard work. As I read my words again, it sounds very over-dramatic. But it's the truth. I worked my butt off throughout my life and I will continue to do so. I sleep well at night knowing that I do things honestly. Even if none of these Scoretop culprits gets punished for their transgressions, it won't matter in the long run, because I am confident each of them will get caught somewhere else. You think Bill Gates would've used Scoretop? Lloyd Blankfein? Jeff Immelt? Steve Ballmer? Steve Jobs? Jeff Bezos? No way in hell. Because they've got the same moral fiber that I think all of us on GMATClub do.

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So, I know this has been beaten to death.. but this one just boggles my mind. The bolding is my work highlighting his english skills.

Quote:
Verbal:
Now this was the area which I knew if I did properly , my score will have big boost...

Over all on the test day I got some 5 passages in all .. That made me easy because I was knowing more the passage I solve , better score I will get .. The best part was that I didn't had any Bold face Cr's and the Sentence correction were also not very tough ……Again the GMAT Real Question Tests have very good verbal questions for practise. So make sure to do every question meticulously.
.. I remember quite a few question of my test day .. I will upload them as soon as I get them in order .


What do you think this guy scored in verbal? 30? 32? 36? Nope. V49. Fourty fricking nine! Total score: 790!! Thats pretty mind boggling... His verbs aren't even right, the grammar is horrific. It's a complete lie. I always knew the GMAT didn't measure anything meaningful, but this is ridiculous!
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 21:42
kryzak wrote:
terp26, no need to be so angry. :) I don't think ANY of us are saying that it's OK to cheat because of cultural acceptability. I have explicitly stated that since this is a GMAC issue and GMAC is a US company (and those who were involved were probably applying to US schools), then the US laws and ethical code applies and they should be punished for cheating. Culture is not an excuse to break a US law.

what I'm trying to bring up is an understanding of why this is prevalent, and how does culture play into this? I also wanted to explore the American notion that "we're right, they're wrong" and being the "police of the world". I do think that many times the US has it right, but I wanted to caution people against blindly applying our (US/Western) ethics/morality on the rest of the world.

It's not 100% relevant to this specific scandal, but since we've beaten the original topic to death already, we might as well explore the bigger picture. Remember, these days, the US is no longer the only big market in the world. With many of the previously "developing" countries rising up with different ethics/moral codes than the US, we, business people who need to learn to look out beyond the US have to be aware of the issues that we may face in the future when we branch out internationally.


Another example of culture difference, in some of the Asian Societies, the grammar in a sentence is different when the sentence is used for elders from when it is used for same age or younger people. For example, there are two meanings of “you” in Hindi Language. “aap” for elders and “tum” for young people. But in English we use only “you”. The difference is because of extra respect shown to elders.

Does that mean there is less respect to elders in English speaking society? I don’t think so. But a person in India, knowing only this culture can very well think that western people don’t respect their elders.
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 21:50
durgesh79 wrote:
Does that mean there is less respect to elders in English speaking society? I don’t think so. But a person in India, knowing only this culture can very well think that western people don’t respect their elders.


Well, based on my own observations and comparisons between Chinese and "western" culture, there's definitely less respect for elders here in America (not none, but less). I'm also not quite sure what you were trying to say. Could you clarify?
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New post 03 Jul 2008, 22:18
kryzak wrote:
Well, based on my own observations and comparisons between Chinese and "western" culture, there's definitely less respect for elders here in America (not none, but less). I'm also not quite sure what you were trying to say. Could you clarify?


The person in India might think that the difference is huge, because of the language thing.
simlilarly a person in western culture might think that there is a inherent "chetaing" problem with Chinese and Indians.

so there is little smoke on one side, but because of culture difference, it looks like big fire to the people on other side.
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