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Claremont McKenna Official Resigns After Falsely Reporting SAT Scores

A senior administrator at Claremont McKenna College has resigned after admitting to falsely reporting SAT statistics since 2005, the college announced on Monday. In an e-mail to the campus (reproduced here), Pamela B. Gann, the college’s president, said the scores for each fall’s freshman class “were generally inflated by an average of 10-20 points each.”

Although Ms. Gann did not identify the administrator in her e-mail, Richard C. Vos, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid, is no longer listed as a member of the college’s admission staff. Max Benavidez, a spokesman for the college, said he could not name the official who had resigned, but he confirmed that Mr. Vos is no longer employed by the college.

Ms. Gann wrote that the administrator had been “solely responsible” for the misreported numbers. “At this time, we have no reason to believe that other individuals were involved,” she wrote. “If we learn otherwise, we will take prompt and appropriate action.” The college has hired a law firm to review how it processes admissions data.

Mr. Benavidez said the inaccurate SAT scores had been provided to all outlets that collect data from colleges, including the Department of Education and U.S. News & World Report. Test-score data is also collected and used by bond-rating agencies, which require sworn certification.

For the freshman class of 2010, Claremont McKenna reported a combined median score of 1410 (out of a possible 1600) on the SAT’s math and critical reading sections, but the actual score was 1400, according to Ms. Gann’s e-mail. That year, the college reported a 75th-percentile score of 1510; the actual score was 1480.

In the most recent edition of Best CollegesU.S. News rated Claremont McKenna ninth on its list of national liberal-arts institutions. Robert J. Morse, director of data research for U.S. News, said in an e-mail late Monday that the college had informed him of the inaccuracies earlier in the day, and that he had asked for “far more detailed” data going back to 2005. “So far,” Mr. Morse wrote, “they haven’t been willing or able to give me the old and new year-by-year … So, until we get a full disclosure of [the] extent of false SAT reporting, U.S. News can’t say what the real impact on CMC’s Best Colleges ranking is.”

In another e-mail last night, one admissions veteran told me he was stunned by the news. “Seems a sad tale,” he wrote, “of the pressure to compete.”

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