Students taking college entrance exams this fall will have to submit photo IDs with their applications — a key security upgrade following a widespread cheating scandal at a number of high schools on New York’s Long Island, a prosecutor and testing officials announced Tuesday.
This is a step long overdue.
I should know; I took the SATs for a guy during my junior year of high school.
Let’s call him “Jack Henry.” A football and wrestling teammate of mine, he had that crazy gleam in his eye, like he’d be up for anything: chugging a fifth of vodka before math class, duct taping a nun in her math class, whatever. One day after a January practice he complained he would never get the SAT test score necessary for acceptance to his top college choices. (Note: he was the top choice of no college.) So, an assistant wrestling coach pointed to me and jokingly said, “Pay Reidy to take it for you!” I was known as the smartest guy on the wrestling team – not a lofty position – and everybody laughed knowingly at coach’s suggestion.
But Jack took him seriously, later approaching me with an offer of $100. I said “yes,” but in a noncommittal way, kinda like the man in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN who “agrees” to murder the other guy’s wife as long as that guy kills his wife. I didn’t think Jack would think I was serious.
But then he informed me that he’d signed up for the test at a public school twenty minutes from our all-boys Catholic school. He’d even gotten a note from our disciplinarian saying that John had lost his school ID. The latter was good enough for entrance.
Which is how I found myself up early the Saturday morning after my first ever concert (David Lee Roth solo tour, Nassau Coliseum), rolling in his piece of shit Ford Escort to Northern Valley Old Tappan High School. Jack left me with this final reminder, “Don’t do too good!”
“Security” breezed me right in, though I did encounter trouble inside my assigned classroom. Forgetting my role for a moment, I just sat there as the proctor took attendance reading a student’s last name followed by their given first name. “Henry, John… Henry, John… Henry, John.” Finally, I realized that I was Henry, John. Strangely, nobody found it strange that I did not recognize my own name.
This was the second time I’d taken the SAT that year, and I found it much easier than the first occasion. Of course, I had to “throw” some questions, so that my score would not arouse suspicions among the SAT people. (Jack refused to tell me what he got the first time, but rumor in the locker room had it lower than 900.)
I finished, woke him up from a nap in his car, and he took me home. I learned a great lesson that day: when committing illegalities, get the money up front. Jack Henry never paid me, the little liar. And he threatened to narc on me if I kept pushing him for the dough.
The security change is one of a number of initiatives following the arrest of 20 current or former high school students accused in a cheating scheme. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said some of the students were paid as much as $3,500 to stand in for other students on the SAT exam, a key barometer for many colleges determining admissions.
$3500?! Wow, did I go cheap. Fuck me with a No. 2 pencil.
Not only did I not get paid, I never learned how I did on that test; the SAT board sent John Henry a letter demanding an explanation for his abnormal spike in scoring. He tried to claim that he’d been on pain killers the first time, as the result of a football injury, but they did not buy it. Amazing to think that I might have had my best score when I tried to get some answers wrong!
Did anybody else out there get paid to or pay someone to take the SATs?
Phot by: albertogp123