Cheating on SATs is an increasingly common problem in East Asia due to wealthy parents in East Asia demanding Western Education for their children. Of course, not ALL wealthy parents in East Asia attempt to cheat! That is just a very controversial stereotype, I guess…. But we do have to acknowledge the fact that the number of students cheating on SATs is escalating every year.
The demand for Western Education is so great now in China and South Korea that parents will pay to get versions of exams before they are administered in Asia. This gives them an unfair advantage over students who may not have the wealth or inclination towards cheating on SATs. Because College Board is aware of this problem, it has repeatedly withheld test scores especially from East Asian participants both in October and November 2014 for Chinese and South Korean students especially.
This problem is not only related to the SATs. In fact, recommendation letters, high school transcripts, and college essays have all been falsified in the past by East Asian students desperate to get into a good college in America.
You might be thinking right now, “Why are these people (parents and kids) of the 21st century so obsessed with their standardized test scores?”. Well, let me tell you something interesting.
In fact, China had a highly important civil service exam called the Keju exam which lasted for about 1298 years. Chinese elite class citizens from Sui to Song China would illegally hire substitutes to take the test for them, would bake answers into their bread or even line them in their clothes. Sometimes, elite class families would bribe the exam officials who would hide cheat sheets in exam cells prior to the actual examination. Some officials even switched scores of their clients with those of high scoring candidates.
This corruption was well recorded in China, and despite repeated efforts over a thousand years to end the abuses, corruption lasted for the entire period. The corruption persisted for so long because this test was so important in Chinese society inasmuch as it was a way to change a person’s wealth and social standing through joining an elite bureaucracy.
Both the Chinese Keju Exam abuses and modern SAT abuses have commonalities in getting illegal copies of the answers prior to the actual exam and trying to get someone to take the test for you. These abuses privileged especially wealthier participants. Because there is an incredible demands for specific jobs and education, that are unlocked by difficult standardized tests in both situations.
The historical precedent of Keju exam in China has a direct influence on the modern exam abuses. In Korea and Japan, there is a long tradition of Confucian scholarship and examination, so in both societies people are used to spending a lot of resource for the education, even if their methods are illegal. Thus, things are unlikely to change in Korea and China.  For over a thousand years, people have been cheating on exams because of their great importance in the society. It is unlikely for East Asians to suddenly stop taking these tests seriously and stop cheating on them because it is part of their historical culture.
Many Koreans and Chinese are probably unwilling to change anytime soon because for so long, their cultures have understood tests to be the high pressure gateway to a successful future.

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