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Newport Beach, California Students Caught Cheating On Exam, Bought Answers From Amazon

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Students at a California high school have been caught cheating on a history exam by purchasing answers to the test from Amazon.com.

About 10 sophomores at Corona del Mar high school in Newport Beach, Calif. purchased test banks, which provide chapter-by-chapter answers for the exam -- designed to help teachers write tests that properly measure student learning, the Daily Pilot reports. A total of 180 students took the exam.

"If you have the test questions in advance, you're cheating," Corona del Mar principal Tim Bryan said at a PTA meeting Wednesday. "They altered the conditions of the test. It's a really big issue for us."

The students came across the test banks while doing online research for the test, KABC reports. Some tried to turn it into a business venture by selling the answers to their peers.

Test banks are generally highly protected and only available to educators with special access codes. The publisher has pulled the test bank from Amazon.

It's currently unclear how school officials plan to handle the situation, though an investigation is reportedly underway. The teachers will determine how to discipline the cheating students and whether to have all students take a new exam or simply void the existing scores.

"When you have a child who is taking a very difficult class, being challenged and doing well, and then find out that other kids are working the system -- it's bad. It's a program fail," a parent told the Daily Pilot.

The Newport Beach cheating ring was uncovered as a cheating scandal surfaced in Texas this week. Around 200 seniors at southeast Houston's Clear Lake High School had acquired answers to their English final before the exam in December.

Teachers at Clear Lake noticed that about a third of the exams had identical answers -- and students who took a different version on the second day of the test's administration had answers that matched those on the version from the first day. As a result, administrators voided test results from all 600 students who took the exam, and offered them two options: take the test again or have their final grade calculated without a final exam grade.

Disciplinary action against those caught will be determined following individual investigations.

In November, the last of 20 students accused in an SAT cheating ring turned themselves in to New York authorities for accepting payments of between $500 and $3,600 to impersonate other students on college entrance exams.

The surrendered students are facing misdemeanor charges, and the scandal has prompted a review by a New York Senate subcommittee on higher education.

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