I am wondering if you have done much on student cheating? I have read about teacher cheating but don’t remember anything on the student side of the equation.
Now that my child is in high school, I am amazed at what online resources are available at the click of the button. I am aware of an instance where a teacher used an online study guide as a test….most of the students used it (teacher was unaware it was public domain) and received 100 percent on the test. Smart on the students’ part, I’d say yes. Lazy on the teacher’s part, I’d say yes.
I’ve had some discussions with parents. Teachers don’t change their test, and the students share what’s on the test with their classmates who have not taken yet taken it.
That is cheating. But the parents I’ve spoken to call it “collaboration” and see nothing wrong with it. Teachers are aware it goes on but say it is too difficult to change the test.
Anyway…. Your readers always have interesting comments and I would enjoy reading some of their thoughts.
I want to add another example of “cheating” shared with me recently. According to a parent, students in a high school class discovered that their teacher graded multiple choice/bubble-in-the-answer tests by putting a grid on top on each answer sheet. The grid revealed whether the student had colored in the right bubble.
But some students filled in both possible answers, which sounds like a ploy that could be easily detected.
And it was. However, while they lost points on the test, the double bubblers dodged a cheating charge because the teacher never specifically prohibited them from filling in more than one bubble. Apparently, their cause was championed by a parent attorney.
Cheating and defenses of it appear to be rampant, even in the best schools in America. Harvard recently experienced its largest cheating scandal ever; half of the nearly 300 students in an Introduction to Congress class were suspected of cheating on a take-home final last year.
Students justified their collaboration on the exam, saying that any similarities in test responses were because they shared lecture notes and conferred with one another and the teaching assistants.
In this case, it’s the test’s design, rather than the students’ conduct, that we should criticize. In allowing students to consult a wide variety of sources, the Harvard exam was looking to assess something deeper than how well they could memorize and recall facts. Judging from some leaked questions, the test seemed to be designed to measure how students could think about some of the contradictions inherent in American government. (An essay question began, “Do interest groups make Congress more or less representative as an institution?”) But if you want to determine how well students think, why force them to think alone?
Harvard didn’t agree, forcing many of the students to withdraw from the university for a period of two to four terms. (Here is a good Harvard Crimson piece on the internal debate over the university’s actions )
Harvard would not say how many students had been disciplined for cheating on a take-home final exam given last May in a government class, but the university’s statements indicated that the number forced out was around 70. The class had 279 students, and Harvard administrators said last summer that “nearly half” were suspected of cheating and would have their cases reviewed by the Administrative Board. On Friday, a Harvard dean, Michael D. Smith, wrote in a letter to faculty members and students that, of those cases, “somewhat more than half” had resulted in a student’s being required to withdraw.
Administrators said that on final-exam questions, some students supplied identical answers, down to, in some cases, typographical errors, indicating that they had written them together or plagiarized them. But some students claimed that the similarities in their answers were due to sharing notes or sitting in on sessions with the same teaching fellows. The instructions on the take-home exam explicitly prohibited collaboration, but many students said they did not think that included talking with teaching fellows.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog