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Exam cheaters...

post #1 of 163
Thread Starter 
Was writing a final exam today. Glanced over at the girl beside me, and noticed that she was cheating using what appeared to be almost a stack of post-it notes that she had tucked away under her calculator, and would slide away everytime she needed to look at it. It would have been quite obvious to anybody nearby that she was cheating, but she was quick to cover it up if the prof/TA was nearby.

What I did was inform the TA that the girl sitting next to me could be cheating, and if she could keep a close eye on her. The TA did hover a lot of the time, but everytime she went near the front, or had to answer a student's question, the girl wold go back to cheating. At the end of the exam, the girl hid away her notes, and handed in her exam - no punishment; but then, no proof (unless the TA goes and pushes aside her calculator/exam books). Should the TA have done more? Should I have done more? Or am I a narc for bringing this up in the first place, and should have kept my mouth shut (not that it matters, the girl got away with it).

I know that her mark does not directly affect my mark; but it just really f*cking pissed me off when I see other students so blatantly breaking the rules. Don't they know that academic dishonesty = getting the boot? Where does one get the balls/ovaries to go through with it? I've seen it so many times, and have reported it as well, with nothing done. What's the point of working hard and getting a degree the honest way when everybody else around you is cheating? So I can know I did it "honestly"? I'm not so naive to think that the cheaters are going to live a life of guilt because had a cheat sheet showing formulas and equations, and graduated with honours as a result.

I've also noticed that of all the students I have seen cheating in the past, they have all been Chinese born. Is it a culture thing, or just idiocy? Or maybe they are just not as good at hiding it vs. the non-Chinese students?

Anyway... what are your cheating stories? Have you cheated, or seen another? Did you blow the whistle on them? Am I a tool who should mind his own business next time?
post #2 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandwagonesque
Was writing a final exam today. Glanced over at the girl beside me, and noticed that she was cheating using what appeared to be almost a stack of post-it notes that she had tucked away under her calculator, and would slide away everytime she needed to look at it. It would have been quite obvious to anybody nearby that she was cheating, but she was quick to cover it up if the prof/TA was nearby.

What I did was inform the TA that the girl sitting next to me could be cheating, and if she could keep a close eye on her. The TA did hover a lot of the time, but everytime she went near the front, or had to answer a student's question, the girl wold go back to cheating. At the end of the exam, the girl hid away her notes, and handed in her exam - no punishment; but then, no proof (unless the TA goes and pushes aside her calculator/exam books). Should the TA have done more? Should I have done more? Or am I a narc for bringing this up in the first place, and should have kept my mouth shut (not that it matters, the girl got away with it).

I know that her mark does not directly affect my mark; but it just really f*cking pissed me off when I see other students so blatantly breaking the rules. Don't they know that academic dishonesty = getting the boot? Where does one get the balls/ovaries to go through with it? I've seen it so many times, and have reported it as well, with nothing done. What's the point of working hard and getting a degree the honest way when everybody else around you is cheating? So I can know I did it "honestly"? I'm not so naive to think that the cheaters are going to live a life of guilt because had a cheat sheet showing formulas and equations, and graduated with honours as a result.

I've also noticed that of all the students I have seen cheating in the past, they have all been Chinese born. Is it a culture thing, or just idiocy? Or maybe they are just not as good at hiding it vs. the non-Chinese students?

Anyway... what are your cheating stories? Have you cheated, or seen another? Did you blow the whistle on them? Am I a tool who should mind his own business next time?
In similar situations I generally just ignored it, but I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with you pointing it out.
post #3 of 163
From the Princeton University honor code:

Every student acknowledges the obligation to report any suspected violation of the honor code that he or she has observed. It is the common understanding among Princeton students that, where the honor system is concerned, an individual's obligation to the undergraduate student body as a whole transcends any reluctance to report another student. Thus, under the honor system students have a twofold obligation: individually, they must not violate the code, and as a community, they are responsible to see that suspected violations are reported.

More here: http://www.princeton.edu/~honor/introduction.htm
post #4 of 163
I've never cheated on an exam, and never will. You did the right thing re bringing attention to the cheating. Maybe actions will be taken after exams are over, behind the scene. I certainly hope it does happen. As to the cheating tendency of Chinese students, I can't attest to that. The engineering undergrad I attended had a huge contingent of Chinese students. I've never personally seen any cheating by them, or by any other students. But then again, you can only cheat for so long. Sooner or later you will be caught, and the price will be steep! For example, our law school's student code of conduct mandates expulsion for cheating. If you're caught, you're booted from law school, and chances are, you won't be able to take the bar exam even if you find another school that's willing to accept you. That's half a million in tuition and lost wages down the drain. This was made very crystal clear during our orientation.
post #5 of 163
Thread Starter 
I've seen cheating going from a writing on a hand, to small post-it note, to a full page 8.5x11 hidden under the desk. In some cases, a prof leaves the room for a few minutes, and some students begin talking amongst one another. I don't understand Mandarin, so they could be asking "What does this word mean?", or "What did you get for part b?". In the first case, you would think they would ask the prof when he/she gets back; so it's more likely the second case.

Exam rooms should be CFA conditions, and no less... I've seen too much going on, and it sickens me.
post #6 of 163
Maybe it's a school cultural thing.
post #7 of 163
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkNWorn
Maybe it's a school cultural thing.

Generally speaking, Canadian schools, or at least the ones I've attended are hardly of the calibre of your US schools. Maybe people here just don't give a rats ass? Or maybe because it's just an arts degree?
post #8 of 163
I noticed this too. The asian boys were good and rarely ever got caught. However, there was an asian girl moved or taken out of class almost every test. Most the time they would have their notes or books open completely and try to claim ignorance. I think once a teacher actually fell for it and just made her put it away.

When people were cheating I rarely paid any attention. I was too lazy most the time to even care. The most ridiculous display of cheating was when a TA was proctoring a final and it was this Turkish guy who barely spoke English. He was clueless and I kid you not, people (most of the class) were passing their finals around the room copying. Of course, after a half hour of watching this, me and my friend saw this and did the same, the only time I have ever cheated on a test. In the end my friend got an A and I got a B- or something, go figure. I think the average on that test was about a B+, which is pretty unheard of.

The last test I ever took in college was a religious studies class. We had a take home essay topic that was 80% of the test and then some other random stuff. Totally not anything you could just put on a cheat sheet. The essay was to be written during class though. I wrote an outline during the test since I had it memorized. People totally had their tests done in about half an hour because they had pre-written the essay. I spent the entire 3 hours. After the test the TA pulled me aside and said someone said I was cheating. I am almost certain it was this one chick who I was helping out that was sitting behind me. In the end I was found innocent but it still annoyed the shit out of me since half the class had their essays pre-written.
post #9 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandwagonesque
... I know that her mark does not directly affect my mark;
That's actually not true. Your grade at the exam is unaffected by her performance (even this might not be true). All final grades are fitted into a curve (either formally, or not). Your final grade will correspond to the right percentile, not the absolute number. Since the professor cannot give everybody A's - those who do not cheat hurt their chances. Now you have another incentive to report her. There is a huge difference in the attitude between Americans and the rest of the world. Both for Europeans and Chinese, it's us (the students) against them (the prof's) - thus the more you cheat the more you screw them. For Americans - it's a competition among students. I am generalizing here - but the system you grew up in matters a lot.
post #10 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster
There is a huge difference in the attitude between Americans and the rest of the world. Both for Eurpoeans and Chineese, it's us (the studnets) against them (the prof's) - thus the more you cheat the more you screw them.

I've actually heard this argument a lot from international students.
post #11 of 163
Cheaters should be reported and failed. These are probably the same individuals who will be creative with their personal tax returns, their insurance claims, and their company's financial statements.
post #12 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster

There is a huge difference in the attitude between Americans and the rest of the world. Both for Europeans and Chinese, it's us (the students) against them (the prof's) - thus the more you cheat the more you screw them.
For Americans - it's a competition among students.
I am generalizing here - but the system you grew up in matters a lot.

This may be true. When I was in high school, there was a German person who had this exact same mentality and said everyone in Germany would cheat and was very annoyed when people wouldn't let her cheat off them.
post #13 of 163
Thread Starter 
tc, that story is too crazy.

Buster, you're 100% correct. My attitude has always been me vs. the other students. This is a really negative attribute of mine though, and I wish I could change it about me - I have sometimes witheld information, or solutions on questions to assignments from not only other classmates, but also from friends. If the situation was reversed, and I knew they were doing the same to me, I'd think the person was an asshole. Yeah... now I feel dirty Though, it is completely different in the workplace - I have always helped coworkers out, without expecting any gratitude or benefit in return. Anyway, in a class of 50 students, one cheater will not have a huge impact. If the other 49 did cheat though, I'm either really dense, or shit out of luck!

Anyway, she was reported - just nothing was done about it. I do wish the TA was more forceful in checking her workspace. However, in the end, there's no smoking gun. The only evidence they have against her is my word. I don't want somebody tossed out of school on my word only, even if she deserves it.
post #14 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster
That's actually not true. Your grade at the exam is unaffected by her performance (even this might not be true). All final grades are fitted into a curve (either formally, or not). Your final grade will correspond to the right percentile, not the absolute number.
Since the professor cannot give everybody A's - those who do not cheat hurt their chances.

Now you have another incentive to report her.

There is a huge difference in the attitude between Americans and the rest of the world. Both for Europeans and Chinese, it's us (the students) against them (the prof's) - thus the more you cheat the more you screw them.
For Americans - it's a competition among students.
I am generalizing here - but the system you grew up in matters a lot.
Not all grades are fitted into a curve, except to the miniscule degree grade inflation by theoretically erode the perceived "value" of a given grade. I had classes in both college and law school where maybe not everybody got an "A" (or the equivalent under my law school's goofy grading system), but a disproportionate number of people did. Certainly I've known of smaller seminars where everyone got a "good" grade. And I had one very large class as an undergrad where (at least according to the scuttlebut) the department had taken all control over grading away from the prof and given it to the TA's because a combination of encroaching dottiness and constitutional affability made the professor far too liberal with good grades.
post #15 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawyerdad
Not all grades are fitted into a curve
That's why I qualified and said "either formally or not". When I grade exams, I try to create some spread between the students. No one said that the curve has to have a "bell" shape. It is common now a days to have 40% A's, 45% B's and 5% C's - this a curve. Seminar and small classes are different - but beyond 30 studnets one would like to have some differences between the grades.
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