WASHINGTON – Senator Edward M. Kennedy yesterday urged Army Secretary Pete Geren to “provide the resources needed” to deter soldiers from cheating on Army correspondences courses to earn points for promotion.
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The Massachusetts Democrat, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed concern that the Army Correspondence Course Program has been compromised by a proliferation of websites – some operated by active-duty Army personnel – that provide copies of and answer keys for hundreds of official military courses and more than 1,000 separate exams.
Kennedy was reacting to a Globe investigation published Sunday that found the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command has known for at least eight years that thousands of enlisted soldiers have been cheating to earn points for promotion to the rank of sergeant – a violation of at least three articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Yet no soldiers have been prosecuted, nor has the training command implemented a series of common security measures recommended as early as 2001 by a group of computerized testing analysts convened by the Army, the Globe reported.
“The tests are obviously important in demonstrating that our soldiers have the knowledge needed to carry out their duties effectively. They also provide promotion points,” Kennedy told Geren in a letter dated yesterday. “I was shocked to read of one website that provides answer keys and boasts that “[w]ith cheap prices and fast service, you can be wearing that E-5 [sergeant] rank before you know it.”
Kennedy urged Geren “to implement stronger controls to make it more difficult to circumvent the integrity of the tests, such as by creating a larger pool of questions for each test and varying the questions given to each student, restricting the number of times a student can take each test, and using live proctors at a testing center for tests deemed important to the mission or to promotion.”
By Bryan Bender
Globe Staff / December 19, 2007
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.