Not an Easy A

Under the name Grade Change Inc., a new grading scam “company” allegedly allows a student to buy grades in any subject. An email detailing this scam is already making the rounds in Montgomery County.

Since 2004, our service has enabled over 8,000 students around the world to pass school without getting held back,” the email reads. The company promises that the grades they change will be the final grade the student receives in the class, and that users of the service will remain anonymous.

The scammers claim to possess a “back portal admin account” allowing them to change student grades online. However, changing grades on Edline does not change the actual grade, which teachers enter into a different program. Many students at Blake HS reported receiving this email, and MCPS is now investigating the scam. The email includes a link where students can supposedly learn more about Grade Change Inc.. The link actually contains malware.

This scam clarifies the discrepancy between academics and ethics. Some students, in their desperation to raise their grade, resort to cheating and other backdoor tactics instead of simply studying harder and putting in the extra effort to earn the grade. Grade Change Inc. and similar scams prey on not only the unethical student, but also the desperate, pressured student who believes that paying for a grade will be the only way to improve in a class.

In 2010, students at Winston Churchill HS hacked into the school’s grading system to modify the grades of several students. While the incident was isolated, it reflects the widespread movement away from earning a grade toward unethical cheating.

“Even if it’s one or two students, it’s too many,” MCPS spokesman Dana Tofig said, in an interview with The Gazette.