Test Security and Cheating: Part 1

If your jurisdiction has ever been the target of a cheating scheme or scandal then you are very familiar with the costs of cheating. Writing new tests, conducting new recruitments and administering new selection procedures are time-consuming and costly, yet they represent only a portion of what could be considered the costs of cheating. Perhaps the biggest potential costs of cheating are those incidents where cheating goes undetected, resulting in incorrect selections for promotions or filling entry-level positions. Whatever the costs and whatever the long-term impacts may be, the sad truth is that cheating still occurs.

A cheating incident from 2009 underscores the impact of cheating scandals on agencies and should serve as a warning for individuals with the responsibility of preventing cheating, as well as any individual that may consider cheating. In this case, a member of the testing committee provided test questions to a lieutenant who subsequently provided them to an officer studying for the test. That officer went to internal affairs and an investigation was launched. In addition to scrapping the test,  four police officials were temporarily removed from their duties pending the conclusion of the investigation. Two eventually left the department. The cloud of suspicion and distrust continues to hang over the department and the ultimate negative affects are incalculable. Continue reading