Admission exam scores canceled after cheating scandal at NYC private school

Eighth-graders at a pricey Upper West Side private school had their scores on a high school admission exam canceled after a top official was accused of giving some students answers, The Post has learned.

Rodeph Sholom School, a nursery-to-8th grade campus that charges up to $53,000 in yearly tuition, plus synagogue fees, has also been barred from giving the SSAT, an admission test used by elite private high schools, for three years.

The penalties stemmed from alleged test-tampering by Maxine Borenstein, the associate head of school who led the high school placement process.

A complaint that led to the investigation said Borenstein “provides unsolicited answers” to students taking the test in a school office.

Borenstein would hover over kids taking the exam and look for wrong answers.

“She would point to the correct answer,” said a parent familiar with the probe.

Raising red flags, some students had multiple erasures and answer changes, investigators found.

Borenstein did not return numerous messages seeking comment.

Head of School Danny Karpf told parents last month that he and Borenstein “agreed that she will retire” in June. Karpf did not return messages.

The school received an anonymous tip in April 2019.

“It is known among some of the 8th-grade parents and students that Maxine Borenstein has enabled cheating on the SSAT” and possibly another private high school admission exam given at the school, an email said.

The complaint, obtained by The Post, concludes, “This is an anonymous email because I fear the retaliation and I am concerned that [Rodeph Sholom] will cover this up to prevent it from coming out and holding the proper people accountable.”

The Enrollment Management Association, a nonprofit that administers the “gold-standard” SSAT exam, hired an independent firm, which conducted a three-month investigation.

In a letter to parents, Karpf announced EMA’s harsh measures were due to “testing irregularities.” He did not specify what they were or who was responsible.

While the tainted scores were already submitted to high schools, Karpf said the cancellations would not “adversely impact” the students accepted for the 2019-20 academic year. Parents believe that the high schools were not fully informed about the cheating.

Rodeph Sholom sends graduates to elite private schools including Riverdale, Fieldston, Horace Mann, Poly Prep, Dwight-Englewood and Columbia Prep.

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