Identical twin sisters accused of dishonest on their year-end medical college exams have gained a defamation case in opposition to the Medical University of South Carolina.
The twins, Kayla and Kellie Bingham, had been accused of “academic dishonesty” in May 2016 after take a look at proctors reviewed the outcomes of an examination on which their efficiency was deemed to be remarkably related. The sisters’ similar solutions to 296 of 307 questions, together with 54 unsuitable solutions, raised alarm bells amongst college officers, who launched an investigation into the twins’ efficiency.
A faculty “honor council” alleged the pair “were signaling one another and passing notes,” court documents present, and finally dominated they’d cheated on the examination.
“It was an eight-hour exam during which we exhibited normal test-taking behavior,” Kayla Bingham informed CBS MoneyWatch.
The Binghams efficiently appealed the choice and filed a lawsuit in opposition to the college, arguing that for years they’d behaved and carried out equally academically and in athletics. After a four-day trial in November, a South Carolina jury determined the college had defamed the sisters and awarded them a complete of $1.5 million in damages.
The twins had a historical past of scoring inside some extent of each other on official exams, such because the SATs, the MCATs and LSTATS, in response to their private information, which had been shared with CBS MoneyWatch.
The Binghams’ authorized case hinged on the idea that it’s common for similar twins to carry out equally on exams given their genetic profiles. Nancy Segal, who runs California State University, Fullerton’s Twin Studies Center and who testified within the case, stated quite a few studies present that similar twins usually carry out equally on a variety of cognitive exams.
“There is a wealth of psychological research that shows that identical twins do perform very similarly on tests of intelligence, information processing and speed of response, and I was not at all surprised they turned in very similar exams,” Segal, who’s a psychologist, informed CBS MoneyWatch.
“When identical twins perform very differently it catches our attention,” she added. “When they perform alike, it’s very consistent with the literature. I would have been surprised if they hadn’t scored alike.”
In their go well with, the Binghams stated the dishonest allegations led to their experiencing psychological misery, together with panic assaults and post-traumatic stress dysfunction.
“It was a very hostile environment. People we had known, sat next to and studied with for two years would not speak to us,” Kellie Bingham informed CBS MoneyWatch. “They knew our work ethic and study habits but refused to hear our side of the story. People we trusted completely turned their backs on us.”
The college’s accusation and the occasions that ensued additionally interfered with the Binghams’ plans to grow to be docs. The two now work as authorities affairs advisers on the identical South Carolina legislation agency.
“We came to understand that once word gets out, even if it’s not accurate, it damages your reputation as a person. So we completely switched tracks,” Kayla stated, including that she “wanted to fight back because I had been wronged.”