Caught Red Handed?

With incidents of cheating on the rise and the Scoretop.com scandal still on everyone’s minds, top business schools around the country will soon require a high-tech identity check for standardized admissions tests. The Wall Street Journal has reported that by May 2009, all B-school applicants taking the GMAT will have to undergo a “palm vein” scan, which takes an infrared picture of the blood coursing through their hands and is unique to every individual.

The GMAT will become the first global standardized exam to use palm vein recognition to provide positive identification for each test taker. The scans are used widely in Japan among users of automated teller machines but only recently have appeared in the United States. Palm-vein scanning on GMAT test takers will begin next month in Korea and India, with U.S. centers starting as early as this fall.

More effective than traditional finger-printing security measures, palm vein scanning will nip “proxy” test takers in the bud. The Wall Street Journal reports that five years ago, federal authorities broke up a ring of six fraudsters who took more than 590 exams, including GMATs, for customers who paid at least $3,000.

Donald L. McCabe, a Rutgers University professor of management, tells the Journal that it’s understandable that business schools are now “protecting the integrity of their test, whatever it takes.” Having polled more than 200,000 students over the past two decades, McCabe concludes that those in business school cheat more than their peers in other disciplines. He says business-school students often cite instances of corporations’ “bottom-line mentality” and ethical lapses to justify their own dishonesty.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, GMAC

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