Being accused of cheating on a board, state, or professional exam is more common than one would think. Thousands of individuals take these exams each year. National boards may require medical doctors or other doctoral candidates to take exams like the USMLE, COMLEX or NBEO, depending on education and training. Some other professionals may take a state exam at the end of their education for state licensure like the NCLEX, EPPP, or the Bar exam to name a few.Most of these tests are administered by a third party company and are subject to strict test conditions like video and audio monitoring. Some companies do not create a strict environment with the use of technology, and instead rely upon a statistical measure of right and wrong answers. These companies then use test answer patterns and compare them to other candidates in the same room as you. If two scores come back similar, you could face an allegation of cheating.
I didn’t cheat – How can they say that I did?
In rooms without audio or video recording, test companies often rely upon proctors to monitor the test room. These individuals are tasked with ensuring a secure environment. However, proctors are not always capable of detecting improper behavior in the exam room. This may leave you at risk. You may be completely focused on the exam and have shut out all other people and noise in your test room. This focus may blind you to other test takers that could be trying to cheat. If they were to copy your answers, you are both accused of cheating. At that point, there is little evidence to say who was at fault. The test company will most likely hold you both accountable. This could result in not only cancelling your scores, but banning you from retaking the test for either a period of years or completely banning you from ever taking the test again.
Can I appeal the finding that I cheated?
Yes – There is typically an appeal process when an accusation of cheating occurs. The process is outlined by the test administration company. The appeal is most likely a written submission, refuting their findings. You typically only get once chance at an appeal – it must be your best.
Remember that testing agreement you signed?
Most test companies have candidates sign a release or agreement when registering. This release may indicate that if a student engages in an appeal, the committee’s findings are final. What does this mean? That the test committee or board has the final say in consequences. If you lose your appeal, you normally cannot sue or engage in any court action or arbitration against the company. If you were to file a court action or arbitration, the test company could use your signed agreement/release against you and get the case thrown out immediately.
An Education Law Attorney’s Advice
Consult with an education law attorney to help draft your appeal. You only get once chance to fight the charges. A finding of cheating could prohibit you from retaking the test for years or even forever. This can have a lasting impact on your educational and professional future. Make your appeal the best it can be.Richard Asselta is an award-winning education lawyer with offices in both Florida and New Jersey. Call The Education Lawyers today and we will fight for you. (855) 338-5299