We want your opinions

May 27, 2007

ISSUE:

Amid concerns about rampant cheating at Severna Park High School, Anne Arundel County student government leaders said that the problem is common at their schools, too, and goes unchecked because of defensive parents, weak administrators and a frantic competition to get into top colleges.

The discussion with school board members on Wednesday came a day after county school system officials stopped three Severna Park High students from retaking the Advanced Placement U.S. history exam after they allegedly got hold of a sealed packet of questions and sneaked into a bathroom to find answers in a review manual. The 42 other students in that May 11 testing group were told to retake the history exam Thursday.

The lack of immediate sanctions against the students spurred an outcry at the high school. A student-led survey found 70 percent believe a culture of cheating exists at the school, and 81 percent believe at least a quarter or more of the student body cheats.

After the College Board chided Severna Park High on Tuesday for its lax test monitoring, Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell said he was so troubled that he has ordered a wholesale review of AP testing procedures in all of the district's 12 high schools. He promised that "disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate."

YOUR VIEW:

Are parents, administrators and increased encouragement to take AP exam at least partly to blame for what students say is widespread cheating? And what is your opinion of the school's handling of the issue?

Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by Thursday. Please keep your responses short, and include your name, address and phone number. A selection will be printed next Sunday.

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