Senior CMC Admissions Administrator Falsely Reported SAT Scores

On Monday morning, President Pamela Gann of Claremont McKenna College announced via email to members of the CMC community that a senior administrator at the Office of Admission had been reporting inaccurate SAT statistics since 2005. Upon receiving reports of misreported SAT scores for the fall 2011 entering class, President Gann and the Office of Institutional Research conducted a further investigation into the reporting practices of the Office of Admission, which revealed varied inaccuracies in the reporting of SAT scores for past classes. Statistics for the fall 2010 class were the most recent to be reported publicly, and the investigation revealed the inflation of a combined median score of 1,400 to 1,410.

In her email, President Gann noted that, “while overall statistics were manipulated, we do not have reason to believe any student’s individual score was altered.”

The Forum has reproduced President Gann’s email below. We welcome and encourage your reactions to the news. Please check back with the Forum as it continues its coverage of the incident and as new information comes to light.

January 30, 2012

Members of the Claremont McKenna College Community,

I am writing to inform you about an important matter related to the accuracy of the Office of Admission’s reporting of admission data.

Earlier this month, I received information from within the College that the Office of Admission had reported inaccurate SAT statistics for the fall 2011 entering class. Upon receiving this information, I asked Jerome Garris, Vice President and Dean Emeritus, to conduct a review of this issue in coordination with the Office of Institutional Research. During Dean Garris’ review of this matter, a senior administrator in the Office of Admission disclosed that he had been solely responsible for falsely reporting SAT statistics since 2005.

Although the degree of inaccuracies varied over time, we understand that the reported critical reading and/or math SAT scores were generally inflated by an average of 10-20 points each. For the fall 2010 class, which is the most recent year that has been reported generally to the public, the individual reported a combined median of 1,410 when the actual should have been 1,400, and reported a 75th percentile score of 1,510 when the actual should have been 1,480. It is also important to note that, while overall statistics were manipulated, we do not have reason to believe any student’s individual score was altered. 

As an institution of higher education with a deep and consistent commitment to the integrity of all our academic activities, and particularly our reporting of institutional data, we take this situation very seriously.  I have therefore initiated a series of actions to respond to this matter. First, the individual has taken full responsibility and has resigned his position from the College effective immediately. At this time, we have no reason to believe that other individuals were involved. If we learn otherwise, we will take prompt and appropriate action.

Second, we have engaged outside legal counsel from O’Melveny & Myers to complete an independent review of our admission-related data processes. In addition, we are contacting and cooperating with external groups that may have received erroneous information to provide corrected data. Finally, we are reviewing our internal data gathering and reporting processes and will strengthen them to ensure that this type of conduct will not occur in the future.

While I am sorry to report this to you, I remain deeply committed to ensuring that Claremont McKenna will respond to this matter in a manner that is accurate, honest, and that will reflect the longstanding integrity of our great college.

Sincerely, Pamela B. Gann, President

 

UPDATES, Monday, January 30

A comparison of the Office of Admission's current webpage titled “Admission Staff Members” and the same page’s Google cache as of 7:42 PM on Saturday, January 28 reveals that the biography and contact information for Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Richard “Dick” Vos has been removed. The change can be seen in the screenshots pictured below.

Additional reporting by Aseem Chipalkatti

UPDATES, Wednesday, February 1

ASCMC released a statement on Tuesday afternoon to the Associated Press, which is reproduced below.

"CMC students are upset by this dishonesty and are disheartened that it may impact the reputation of Claremont McKenna. We are disappointed that an administrator exaggerated credentials that need no exaggeration. However, his actions do not reflect the strength of our community, the excellence of our education, or the caliber of our people. The CMC we know values integrity in its students and enables them to grow, thrive, and prepare for lives of ethical leadership."