Med School Accuses Twins of Cheating, Must Pay $1.5M

Identical twins Kellie and Kayla Bingham sued Medical University of South Carolina
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2022 3:28 PM CST
Updated Dec 18, 2022 11:30 AM CST
Med School Accuses Twins of Cheating, Must Pay $1.5M
   (Getty / DHurly)

After an important exam at the Medical University of South Carolina, identical twins Kellie and Kayla Bingham weren't surprised to discovered they had nearly identical scores. That has always been the case with them academically, including with the SAT (Insider reports they scored the exact same), the MCAT, and the LSAT. The university, however, thought the scores were too similar—they gave identical answers on 296 out of 307 questions, reports CBS News—and they formally accused the sisters of cheating. Six years later, a South Carolina jury has awarded the twins $1.5 million over the slight.

Test proctors thought the pair were signaling to each with head nods and such. But "we were just nodding at a question at our own computer screens," Kayla tells Insider. "There was no signaling," and they "never looked at each other" during the exam. After a school panel found them guilty, the sisters, then 24, successfully appealed, per People. However, they say their reputations were ruined. "These mutterings and rumors came throughout campus about how we'd been academically dishonest," says Kellie. They filed suit as a result, and their case was helped by the testimony of experts saying that it's not at all unusual for identical twins to perform, well, identically, on tests.

"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," psychologist Nancy Segal, who runs the Twins Study Center at Cal State Fullerton, tells CBS. While the sisters won the suit, the cheating allegations had ramifications: They both abandoned their pursuit of a career in medicine, and both are now lawyers. (More identical twins stories.)

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