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Full disclosure helped CMC minimize fallout from SAT scandal

Executives at Western Association for Schools and Colleges (WASC) do not anticipate major ramifications in the wake of scandal at Claremont McKenna College earlier this week.

WASC, which gives CMC its accreditation, does not plan to take any action against the college for reporting false SAT scores.

“It is an unfortunate situation, but they have had full disclosure with us,” said WASC President Ralph Wolff. “They are dealing with this situation appropriately.”

Pamela Green, CMC president, released a letter Monday stating that a senior admission executive had stepped down after an internal audit revealed he had inflated the college's freshman SAT scores for the past 6 years.

CMC soared into the U.S. News & World Report’s annual top 10 liberal arts colleges ranking for the first time in 2006, according to a report from the school. Though it fell back to eleventh in 2010, CMC shot back up to ninth in 2012. CMC reported that the executive reported false SAT data, which contributes a 7.5 percent weight to the resulting rank, since 2005.

CMC’s admission dean isn’t the first to have gotten limelight for a scandal of this kind. In 2010, officials at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., admitted to reporting a series of manipulated school statistics, including SAT scores, for nine years.

The fact that CMC admitted its faults publicly and is working on solutions to the problem shows WASC that it has the best interests of the college in mind, according to Wolff.

“They have shared information with us on what they are planning to do to verify the problems now and in the future,” Mr. Wolff said. “They have handled it very responsibly.”

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges last approved CMC’s accreditation in 2010. The college is not due for another review until 2019, according to Mr. Wolff, who says that no measurements will be taken against their accreditation now or in the future as a result of the last 6 years of falsities.

—Beth Hartnett

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