Claremont McKenna Says Official Inflated SAT Scores

Claremont McKenna College, a liberal arts school near Los Angeles, said an admissions official had reported inaccurate statistics for the SAT college entrance exam since 2005.

The SAT scores on the critical reading and/or math sections were generally inflated by an average of 10 to 20 points each year, according to a letter to the college community by Claremont McKenna President Pamela B. Gann. The school belongs to the group of seven schools known as the Claremont Colleges.

Scores on entrance exams are used in college rankings by publishers such as U.S. News & World Report, which are influential with students and parents. An admissions administrator, who wasn’t named in the memo, has taken full responsibility and resigned from the college, according to the letter, which was obtained by Bloomberg News. She said she doesn’t believe any individual student scores were altered and the college hired law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP to conduct an independent review.

“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,” Gann wrote.

For the current sophomore class, the college had reported a combined median SAT score of 1,410 when the actual one should have been 1,400, as well as a 75th percentile score of 1,510 when the actual should have been 1,480, Gann said.

The SAT is owned by the New York-based College Board. An e- mail sent before regular business hours to Kathleen Steinberg, a spokeswoman for the College Board, wasn’t immediately answered.

About 1,200 students attend the school in Claremont, California, according to its website. Gann became the fourth president in 1999 after serving as dean of Duke University’s School of Law.

Alumni include Henry Kravis, chairman of private equity firm KKR & Co., and Peter Weinberg, co-founder of New York investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners LP.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janet Lorin in New York jlorin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lisa Wolfson at lwolfson@bloomberg.net

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