Cheating Panic

<p>My boyfriend received an email from his professor stating that she needed to talk to him about his exam. To him, that means either she thinks he cheated or he failed.</p>

<p>One of his friends from his mock trial team, whom he studies with, talked to the professor before he could, and found out that she thinks they cheated together on the exam because they had similar answers on a question. Other people in the study group have also been accused of cheating, though, so it should seem obvious that they just, for example, all got an answer similarly wrong. </p>

<p>This should be easy, right? Just let the professor know that you all studied together?</p>

<p>Except it isn't. She seems to be convinced that they all cheated and she doesn't seem particularly willing to listen to them. </p>

<p>What in the world can he do against a professor that is unwilling to listen to the students' defense?</p>

<p>It's not just an open and shut just because the professor believes it to be so. There will also be the department chairman, college dean, and dean of student affairs involved. If the accusation does come out when he talks to the professor, have him explain as calmly and honestly as he can, tell him not to get angry or disrespectful to the prof. If the prof still insists he cheated, ask for a meeting with the department chair and see if he can get resolution there.</p>

<p>I used to work in an academic department at a large public uni, and we would occasionally have episodes of suspected cheating, but it was always difficult to prove, and usually wasn't worth pursuing, so other than the meetings nothing ever came of the accusations.</p>

<p>The Student Conduct code has stipulations for "group" cheating, and it will be easier to prove that they didn't cheat (ie, showing the syllabus that says notes are allowed on the exam, then showing the notes and the place to find them where the group posted them). </p>

<p>It just makes me incredibly uneasy that it seemed like the professor could just say something, and then everyone else would have to prove it /didn't/ happen.</p>

<p>Thanks, 1down22go!</p>

<p>I don't exactly understand this situation much, but maybe you should make another post on the parents forum. I think NorthStarMom mentioned once that she was a prof. so she may be able to answer your question. Anyway, was the exam in class? I mean if they were fairly spaced apart during the exam, I'm not sure how they would be able to cheat.</p>

<p>I know no cheating occurred. But how do I prove that to the professor?</p>

<p>This was the final exam for a class in his major.</p>

<p>Well, did they look at old tests from the teacher to practice and come across a similar question? I would hope they were smart enough to go with the same answer that they discussed in a group and that shoudl be easily explainable.</p>

<p>If they really did nothing, just stick with it. The school isnt going to risk expelling or severely disciplining unless they are pretty sure that they are correct (can you say lawsuit?).</p>

<p>It's pretty provable if it goes to academic tribunal. The syllabus does allow notes, the notes are posted online, the group all shared the notes. If the answer is similar because of those notes, well, duh. Problem is she won't say exactly what makes her think they cheated.</p>

<p>I'm sure the school won't be stupid, but this professor seems to be going that way. From what I can tell, school code allows her to stipulate a punishment, and then the provost and/or academic tribunal decides, regardless of the punishment, whether the student(s) was/are guilty of the academic dishonesty. Unfortunately, the provost looks like the kind of person that would take a professor's word over anyone else's.</p>

<p>Added intrigue: one of the accused has set his sights on high politics, and recently ran under an "independet" campus party for presidency of the SUA. There's a theory that someone "tipped" the professor off somehow to discredit him. And yes, I do believe the politics surrounding SUA would get that bad.</p>


<p>... innocent until proven guilty?</p>

<p>if they have an honest explanation, they should be fine.</p>

<p>You'd think so! This is a crisis-in-progress, though, so it's probably not as bad as it looks from this side of it.</p>

<p>As Annie so intelligently said (over and over and over and over again during rehearsals...), "The sun'll come out tomorrow!"</p>

<p>Update: official status of the cheating debacle. </p>

<p>The professor called him and let him know what was up. Apparently, a few students in his study group (she claims nearly all of them) used the community notes word-for-word on one or more of the answers on the exam. Because her policy states that you may not use the written work of another student, this is cheating. Everyone in the study group, whether they did the "direct from notes to paper thing" or not, is culpable because they "aided" the other students in cheating. </p>

<p>I am absolutely furious. He's looking at an "F" in an upper division class in his major, which he would be allowed to take again (angry aside: the prof says that "normally in these situations, students wouldn't be allowed to take the course again, but" she'd allow them to [!!!])</p>

<p>I am so, so angry about this. The stupidest part of all is that it does, in pure black and white, look as if they cheated. Her policy says no student may use the written work of another and, well, other students did. It's wrong to "show" your notes to other students. So, despite the fact that all of this didn't happen concurrently, nor even in the case of the second point during the exam, they are guilty of aiding another student in cheating.</p>

<p>&*#@)! So much for having study groups.</p>

<p>So... it sounds like the problem is that they had a written study guide, and a similar question came up on the test, so they used the prepared answer.</p>

<p>If they hadn't WRITTEN the study guide, and only bounced ideas off each other, yet had come to exactly the same answer that was written down, then it would have been ok, because it wasn't written down, and they would have only shared what was in their mind, not on paper?</p>

<p>If the policy says "no student may use the written work of another" then I would find out about the process the school has for dealing with this (Judicial hearing, etc?).</p>

<p>I would argue that the study guide does not belong to one of them, but the ENTIRE study guide, belongs to ALL of the people who worked on it, and therefore, they did not use ANYONE ELSE'S written material.</p>

<p>This is like, if two scientists do an experiment together, and then each publish the same results, someone claiming that one scientist stole the work from the other one.</p>

<p>(does the policy say it's wrong to "show" your notes to other students, or was that your input / interpretation?). What if they didn't show each other their notes, but only discussed them? Are they also not allowed to attend the same class because then they would all have access to the same information?!?!</p>

<p>This professor is a moron.</p>

<p>The problem is the group-created study guide, yes. They all used it, and some students copied something directly from the study-guide onto the exam, making two or more exams match for an answer.</p>

<p>This is "cheating" in her eyes because they are using the written work of another student.</p>

<p>Could they prove which student? Of course not. So <em>all</em> of the students who worked on the study guide are to be punished.</p>

<p>I can almost not believe that someone could be so stupid as to nab someone who worked on a study guide for cheating. It makes me wonder if maybe she's being cagey and "testing" her students by trying to get one of them to fight back. It's even more ludicrous when one considers that this was a "Children and the Law" course where the students would presumably have learned something about how they could defend themselves.</p>

<p>But then, that sort of "after classes are done" exam seems stupid as well, so we're back to square one.</p>

<p>Your boyfriend needs to talk to the dean. The dean or the departmental faculty committee that works with student dishonesty allegations would have the final word.</p>

<p>My thoughts are that studying in a group is fine (except for take-homes when such study is forbidden), compiling notes as a group is fine, but writing down word for word an answer that the group came up with is simply not fine because the answer is not solely one's own work. To me, it seems dumb and lazy for students to have done this. I don't understand why each student didn't individualize their own answer. It seems commonsense to assume that a word for word copy would look like they cheated. In addition, I'd think that they'd each wish to write the answer using their own writing style and additional information from their thinking.</p>

<p>No matter how wonderful the group answer is, it's hard for me to figure out why the students wouldn't have wanted to individualize their answers.</p>

Could they prove which student? Of course not. So <em>all</em> of the students who worked on the study guide are to be punished.


<p>What? This is ridiculous. Are you saying you are cheating if you hold a study group and make a study guide together? Does this mean only verbal discussions are permitted when it comes to study groups? Each student (besides the two) could simply deny they worked on the study guide, then what? What evidence is there?</p>

<p>This case can't be treated as a "one student cheating" case because it involves a group of students who worked collabaratively (not illegal) and two students who used the collabarative work in their exam answers (arguable illegality). Basically, you can follow soccerguy's argument: the work belongs to all the students because each contributed to it, so no one stole the work of another student unless you can directly prove which student's work was "stolen".</p>

<p>Aside: When they say "written notes allowed" do they mean you can copy the notes word for word as long as you credit them as such (quotation marks etc) or that you can only use the notes to compose your own answer, written in your own words?</p>

<p>Northstarmom: Yes, a talk with the dean is in order. It will happen. Luckily, a teacher can't just out-of-hand state that a student cheated and that's that.</p>

<p>I don't understand why they couldn't individualize their own answers, except that I know she purposefully made the exam take the full three hours of the time allotted and some students are slower than others at written exams. I agree with you that it was lazy and stupid. My problem is that my boyfriend and several others from the study group DID NOT do this, and so I don't understand how they can be accused of cheating.</p>

<p>gianievve: That's exactly how I feel as well. I am sort of taken aback because the professor is quite confident that all of the students cheated; whenever someone is <em>that</em> confident in something, it always makes me pause and wonder if maybe I'm missing something in the story.</p>

<p>To the aside, it's impossible to tell what she meant. Her policy on cheating on the syllabus was that you may not use the written work of another student. She made it purposefully vague so as to, as she says, "prevent any kind of dishonesty." I imagine the stipulation as to which kinds of aid were allowed on the exam was equally vague for reasons that are completely beyond me.</p>

<p>(Note: I do believe this is her first year teaching.)</p>