Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Chinese Cheaters

What is strange is it was not that long ago that the Bo$ton Globe was crowing about such things and what they do for the bottom line:

"Fight to find cheats takes schools around the world; Agencies seek to root out widespread fraud in China" by Laura Krantz and Jessica Meyers Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent  January 19, 2016

BEIJING — A video camera and two plastic chairs sit in a tiny room on the city’s west side, the latest weapons in a global battle against the wave of admissions fraud striking US schools.

College-bound Chinese students come here to InitialView, one of several such companies operating in the country, to film a video interview and prove their speaking abilities match their applications.

As a record number of Chinese students stream into American universities, verification companies like this one have sprouted up to help combat doctored transcripts, falsified essays, and surrogate test-takers. They vie against another set of Chinese companies, which turn out false applications and seek to profit off the frenzy for a US degree.

The issue has intensified as China’s expanding middle class has sought prestige through American colleges — with Boston a prime destination — and schools seek to capitalize on full-paying foreign students to bolster budgets. It ripples through US campuses, where professors complain unqualified students slow down classes and hard-working Chinese students feel stigmatized.

Inundated admissions officers are taking measures to catch fraud, but with millions of dollars at stake, few schools are attempting the overhauls needed to make a sizable difference.

“Ultimately, the buck stops with US institutions,” said Eddie West, director of international initiatives for the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

Students from all over the world, including America, have fudged essays, hired advisers, or found themselves in trouble for looking at another student’s answers. But, as the largest group of foreign students in the United States, the Chinese stand out.

Cheating “has been going on for a while,” said Stacy Caldwell, the College Board vice president for college readiness assessments. “Certainly as we’ve continued to rapidly grow our international business, the number of issues that we’ve seen internationally has certainly grown along with that.

“We do our absolute best to run down any cases of [fraud] that we find,” Caldwell added.

Students attending Chinese colleges face expulsion and even jail time for cheating on their country’s rigorous entrance exam, known as the gaokao. No such rules exist for tests to study abroad.

“I don’t know how a US admissions officer at this stage can know [about] a score they receive from China,” said Robert Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest, an advocacy group that campaigns for testing reform. “The cheating is so widespread.”

The result shows up in the classroom, where some students struggle to understand or bend the rules to pass classes. More than 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from US universities in 2014, according to a report by WholeRen Education, a Pittsburgh-based education consultancy. Around 80 percent of the cases involved poor grades or cheating.

Admissions fraud takes many forms, from faking a recommendation to paying more than $10,000 for someone to complete an entire application. Schools, especially in college-heavy Boston, admit they struggle to tell the difference.

“Do I think there are students at Tufts who have embellished their applications, in some way misrepresented themselves? Sure,” said Jennifer Simons, the university’s director of international recruitment. “But I hope that there’s no one on this campus that has really cheated.”

Simons, like many admissions officers, can recite a slew of suspicious application stories. She recently looked over an essay a student wrote about his girlfriend and noticed the cadence sounded odd. When she plugged a passage into Google, she discovered the paragraph was a translated Korean pop song.

Other admissions officers at colleges in Boston tell similar tales — of applicants who stumble through an e-mail but submit a flawless essay. In another instance, according to a verification agency called Vericant, an admissions officer couldn’t figure out why a black cat sat on a Chinese girl’s lap through their Skype interview. A nervous habit? Then it became clear. It was no cat but the student’s mother, lying on her lap whispering the answers.

One of the world’s largest education pipelines into Boston is located in a high-rise neighborhood on the west side of Beijing, wedged between China’s top universities and a throng of tech startups.

A billboard for one company juts into the street with an American flag and promises of high SAT scores; another trumpets that it “embraces the Ivies.”

Towering buildings house agencies that play the middlemen between schools and students. While all the companies aim to profit off their endeavors, many simply want to help applicants understand the befuddling US admissions process. Others exploit students’ desperation and veer into fraud.

What, they dabble in student loans, too?

The gleaming offices of New Oriental are here, the largest and most well-known of the third-party education companies. Former employees and students said agents at the company often write entire essays for students....

I'm done writing regarding this so it will have to do.


Also seeUS accuses 5 of stealing trade secrets

The good news is China is now cracking down.

Related: U.S. Stirring Up South China Sea

No, no, that's lying, not cheating.