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How an industry helps Chinese students cheat their way into and through U.S. colleges


Replies to: How an industry helps Chinese students cheat their way into and through U.S. colleges

  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    edited May 2016
    @PurpleTitan - It depends on the major. The following is from the ASEE and tracks the student body at engineering schools. Note that the ASEE does not report if resident students are in-state or OOS. They report race, gender and if the student is a non-resident alien.


    Based on the ASEE site and using 2007 as a benchmark, the total number of students in the engineering school increased from 1,254 to 1,604, an increase of 350 students. Of that increase, 207 were non-resident aliens while 143 were US residents.

    However, if we look at computer science and engineering exclusively, we find that the total number of CS majors increased from 270 to 304. However, the number of non-resident alien CS majors increased from 23 to 85, while the number of resident CS majors decreased from 247 to 219. Given that CS is the most desirable program at UIUC and one of the best in the country, it is a shame seeing UIUC selling slots to non-resident aliens at the expense of qualified in-state kids.

    You missed a long conversation regarding this issue earlier. The UIUC discussion start on page 5.

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 29,462 Senior Member
    @Gator88NE - My point exactly. They cheat, they get admitted, they are unprepared or underprepared for classes here and flunk out, or they try to get through the system here by cheating, get caught, and get thrown out.

    I teach ESL in a university-based English for Academic Purposes program, and we see the results around us every day. Professors complain to us all the time about the students who were admitted based on TOEFL scores, rather than after graduating from our program where they have had to demonstrate speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills at a level that will make it likely that they can succeed in their studies. That is just the language component. I'm not in the business of assessing their command of subject area content or specific skills related to content area. I'm sure many of our graduates struggle once they move on to academic classes.

    What is saddening is that so many public universities are grossly undersupported by their state legislatures. That is a factor that drives international student recruitment. Almost all of those students are full pay.
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 12,285 Senior Member
    edited May 2016
    The number of SUNY students incapable of writing a solid paragraph in English would astound you.

    This isn't solely an issue with international students. This is also an endemic issue among native-born American students not only in public university systems, but even among some native-born American students at the respectable/elite colleges. Including those who were boarding school graduates.

    In the intermediate/upper division colloquium/seminar classes at Oberlin I was astounded to find a few older native-born American students with such issues while workshopping our essays*.

    This was furthered when on a visit to a friend's department at Columbia U, an irate native-born "real murikan"undergrad with prep school wear apparently mistook me for a TA from an American History survey class. Had an opportunity to read a few pages of the C graded paper he was irate about as he rudely thrust it right in front of my face. Considering the quality of the writing was littered with grammatical and even spelling errors which would have prompted an F and a mandatory "do-over" from my 9th grade public magnet HS teachers, I had no hesitation in telling this entitled undergrad off in a manner no TA I knew of would have dared. IMO...his TA was overly generous with that C.

    There was also several conversations I've had with writing-center staffers at Columbia and Harvard, including some international grad students* who were astounded at how many native-born American students with such issues were matriculating at both institutions.

    * Including some Chinese grad students whose command of written English was such they were assigned to staff the writing center which provides writing support/assistance to undergrad and grad students at Columbia and Harvard.
  • gettingschooledgettingschooled Registered User Posts: 1,951 Senior Member
    @happymomof1 It sounds like from reading the article that some of these students continue to use these services post-matriculation to cheat on papers and tests. Depending on the schools procedures, they aren't all getting caught and kicked out.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,685 Senior Member
    @Zinhead, UIUC actually keeps detailed breakdowns of each major by demographics (such as in-state and international), so there's no need to guess: http://www.dmi.illinois.edu/stuenr/#race

    Number of CS majors in COE:
    Instate: 474
    International: 44

    Instate: 435
    International: 210

    Instate: 474
    International: 275

    So as you can see, there hasn't been a long-term decrease in slots for in-state kids even in CS (there seems to have been a slight dip from 2005->2010, but that was rectified).
  • CaliDad2020CaliDad2020 Registered User Posts: 1,012 Senior Member
    @Gator88NE You surely aren't suggesting that UC's ever does anything "Rong?"
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 29,462 Senior Member
    @gettingschooled - Of course they don't all get caught and kicked out - neither do all of the US students who cheat. Educators do what they can to control the situation, but it is difficult (some would say impossible) to eliminate all cheating.
  • CaliDad2020CaliDad2020 Registered User Posts: 1,012 Senior Member
    I thought it was interesting that UofT engineering started a video portion of their application a year or two ago, in part because they felt that the information they were getting on the English speaking abilities of some of their international applicants was not accurate. The video is timed, can't be stopped or edited and forces you to respond to questions in real time, extemporaneously.

    Obviously doesn't do anything about students cheating on SAT or ACT or similar - or even buying essays. But it would indicate if your English speaking ability were over-sold in your application.
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 57,422 Senior Member
    How do they know if it is really the applicant sitting on the other side of the video monitor?
  • YnotgoYnotgo Registered User Posts: 3,935 Senior Member
    Ask Ms Sun (UC applications counselor) commented about the article in the OP, "This more than likely explains the “optional” interview Berkeley put in place and the dramatic decrease in international admits (no official numbers yet, just hearsay for now). "
  • CaliDad2020CaliDad2020 Registered User Posts: 1,012 Senior Member
    @jym626 I don't know what kind of ID-ing they required. And of course you could hire someone to sit down and do your interview for you, but it becomes a bit more complicated than simply buying a transcript. And the interviewee has to do well - or they don't get it.

    Nothing is perfect, but my guess is it is small step to make jobbing the application a bit more difficult since (from what we were told anyway) some of the students were coming in with less workable English skills than advertised and it was making group work, in particular, difficult.
  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 5,409 Senior Member
    Cheating is far more common by students from certain countries that have codified it than it is in the US. Problems with writing are not limited to international students but are more common and much more severe among International students. In the schools I am most familiar with they rarely if ever speak English. Many say nothing in classes. This is not true about US residents. Yes, professors have complained about student writing forever. But the problems with writing for students who can't speak the language bring the difficulties to a new level.
  • OttermaOtterma Registered User Posts: 1,529 Senior Member
    edited May 2016
    it is small step to make jobbing the application a bit more difficult
    Agreed. It's not perfect but it does hit the cheat factory business model where one anonymous tester can write papers or sit exams for large numbers of clients. With video interviews, universities can potentially grab still frames from each interview and put them in a database to compare with other applicants.
  • coolweathercoolweather Registered User Posts: 5,950 Senior Member
    edited May 2016
    Colleges should retest English profiency of international students when they arrive. If students don't pass then they should be required to have additional and intensive training in English. If the scores are too low, inconsistent with the submitted test scores then colleges should have the right to send them home (if the application has that condition). It's reasonable to ask international students to take English only during the first one or two semesters.

    I think the problem is many colleges just admit international students but don't have the resources to train them in English. They don't have instructors with specific skills to teach international students.
This discussion has been closed.