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Claremont McKenna College admits overall class scores were altered

Suburban Los Angeles school ranked 9th by U.S. News & World Report

Official responsible for altering scores has resigned, president says

CNN  — 

An admissions officer at Claremont McKenna College in California has resigned after the school’s president revealed that the officer had inflated college entrance examination scores for incoming freshmen since 2005.

“As an institution of higher education with a deep and consistent commitment to the integrity of all our academic activities, and particularly our reporting of institutional data, we take this situation very seriously,” college President Pamela B. Gann wrote in an e-mail Monday to students, faculty and staff.

Gann wrote that a lone administrator reported composite scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test that were exaggerated by 10 to 20 points. That employee, whom she did not name, has resigned, she said.

Such scores are often used in various comparisons of colleges across the country, including U.S. News & World Report’s prestigious annual rankings.

There was no evidence that individual students’ scores were altered, Gann’s statement said.

Claremont McKenna, a private, coed college in Claremont about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, was listed ninth among U.S. liberal arts colleges in the magazine’s most recent nationwide rankings.

The magazine includes incoming freshman class scores on the SAT and ACT college admission tests in its ranking formula. The figures account for about 7.5% of a school’s total score in the formula, according to the magazine.

CNN’s attempts Monday to reach the magazine for comment on its rankings and the Claremont-McKenna announcement were unsuccessful. Officials at the college also could not be reached.

Gann’s announcement was first reported by the Forum, the college’s student news publication.

“We have engaged outside legal counsel to review our admission-related data processes and are committed to strengthening them to ensure that this type of conduct will not occur in the future,” the college said in a statement.

Claremont McKenna College is one of seven institutions that comprise The Claremont Colleges. It was founded in 1946 and has about 1,200 students enrolled, according to the school’s website.

CNN’s Greg Morrison and Jim Kavanagh contributed to this report.