Cheating...maybe. What would you do?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2015

    I teach a foreign language. Today I gave the written portion of my final exam. Students were asked to demonstrate some grammar skills in the target language.

    On one part of the test, one student gave an incorrect answer. Interestingly, this student gave a response that included material we haven't learned yet.

    To be specific, I asked students to conjugate a given verb in the future tense. This student conjugated the verb in the future PASSIVE, which we haven't learned yet. We haven't seen those forms yet even in passing.

    Based on the response, it seems obvious that this student must have accessed outside materials during the exam. The problem is that I didn't witness this, nor did witness any other suspicious behavior whatsoever from this or any other student in the class. This student does not have a history of cheating in my class.

    If you were in my position, what would you do? Let's go ahead and assume that the office will offer no disciplinary support.
     
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  3. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Since it seems you don't have any hard proof, I'm not sure there is anything that you can do. Could he have studied out of an advanced book or looked on a website or something to do that skill? I just don't think a teacher can have a case for cheating unless there is undeniable proof.
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sounds like you have a hunch of what happened. While knowing material you haven't taught could be cheating it also might not be. He might have learned it from some other place. If anyone can solve this difficult situation it would be you. If you can find a way to gather some more evidence to get closer to the truth that would be great (I am not sure how best to go about that.) As you know though without clear evidence of cheating. there is the chance he/she didn't actually do it. Unless you are confident you can get more evidence, it might be best to let this one go, but watch this student very carefully on future tests. (assuming you have the student another semester).
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I would let it go this time. Next time you take a test or a quiz, keep a close eye on this student.
     
  6. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    It is still wrong, so the student still fails that portion it the quiz even if they never cheated. I would let it go.
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I would let it go. It was one answer, which was incorrect anyways so the student didn't receive any credit. Because you haven't seen it, you can't say for sure the student cheated. It would be different if it was an entire test with 100 % correct answers, and now it would be a matter of A+ or a cheating matter with an F. He may have studied ahead of time.
    When I took Spanish, I kept using the 'vosotros' form, because I have previously studied from books that included it, yet our professor kept saying that we don't use it because it's not used in Mexico. So we really haven't worked with it at all, but I kept accidentally using it, even on a test once. And I wasn't cheating.
     
  8. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I would probably just talk to the student, mostly because I would be curious to know where he/she got the information. Also, if the student was cheating somehow, it would let them know that you notcied something and maybe prevent it from happening again. Either way, it would be interesting to see their reaction and hear their explanation.
     
  9. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jan 13, 2015

    The student could've looked ahead in the book at some point.

    They also could've just guessed.
     
  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    What's more likely? That this student studied outside of class and ran into more advanced material than what you've taught, or that the student managed to cheat (badly) right in front of you?

    Serious question, since I don't know the student or the testing situation.
     
  11. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I'd let it go.
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

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    As a CYA, I'd let it go. It isn't a fight you'd win. If I gave the tests back, I'd make some comment on the test like "interesting - wonder how you got this answer" so the kid would know he was on my radar.
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    If the kid got it right on the test, let him help you teach that concept! Either he'll have to learn it to "help", or the jig is up.
     
  14. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    It honestly depends. The fact is that the student conjugated incorrectly and used the wrong grammar. OTOH, because you had only taught active tense, you hadn't specified that passive was wrong. I'd talk with the student to explain why the answers were incorrect and take the grade down one level for incorrect tense with the correct conjugation pattern. If you want to lighten the mood a little, you can use the "zombie rule" to show why passive tense wouldn't work there.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Virtually impossible.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This is what troubles me. I am reasonably certain that the student did not cheat during class, because I think I would have seen it. On the other hand, I don't believe that the student took any sort of initiative to study advanced material. This student has been struggling with the basic material, so I sincerely doubt that this student would be in any great hurry to seek out more complicated information. I am seriously baffled as to how this happened.

    I know that I won't be handling this situation through official channels, partly because I don't have any proof whatsoever other than the student response and partly because admin isn't very supportive. I think that I will speak with the student, though. I'm quite curious to hear an explanation.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The tense was fine. The voice was incorrect.

    The problem is that the whole answer was just...weird. I expected something like this:

    merebo: I will earn / merebimus: we will earn
    merebis: you will earn / merebitis: y'all will earn
    merebit: he will earn / merebunt: they will earn

    But what was written was something like this:

    merebo (I will earn) / merebor (I will be earned)
    merebis (you will earn) / mereberis (you will be earned)
    merebit (he will earn) / merebitur (it will be earned)

    The student's response includes the first, second, and third person singular (I, you, he/she/it) TWICE. The student did not give me the plural forms (we, y'all, they) at all. So the student seemed to know enough advanced Latin to know the future passive forms, including the irregular -beris ending, but didn't know enough to give me the standard conjugated forms with all 6 personal pronouns or how to translate any of the forms...?
     
  18. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Jan 13, 2015

    Any chance that you could sit down with the student to figure out what happened? I would be curious, not to give consequences to this student, but to figure out if other students may do the same thing.
     
  19. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    That IS weird. I'd have a talk and ask how (s)he arrived at those answers.
     
  20. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Did the student have any information before the test? Like, I'm going to give you these verbs...you will conjugate 5/10 of them?

    Would he have received any kind of tutoring, online or in person, that could have led him wrong? Or any way he could have googled something?

    We had a situation with a student during finals last semester at my college. The instructor had given the students all possible essay questions, and they were to choose 4 to answer. Student simply googled the questions (they were not originals), memorized 4 answers, and regurgitated them. The instructor insisted he cheated. I couldn't agree-she had given them the questions. She said there was no way he could memorize that much. I've seen stranger things! She ended up failing him on that section, but he still earned a B in the class.

    I wonder if your student could have done some googling and gotten himself in over his head?
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 13, 2015

    Since its incorrect anyway the student already lost points on the test. You have no proof of cheating.
    You might have a private conversation about how you were 'surprised' to see the tense you haven't aught as the given answer. :eek:hmy:
     
  22. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Do you think maybe he studied ahead and got confused?
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I spoke with the student today. Honestly I am more confused than I was before. At first, he told me that he "just guessed". I told him that it would be really unlikely that he would be able to produce those forms by guessing, that it would be like giving a 3rd grader a math test and the third grader accidentally writing down the quadratic equation without ever having seen it before. Then the student told me that I had given him those forms once when I was helping him study (I didn't). Then he told me that he saw them in the textbook and must have accidentally written them into his notes. I asked him if I could take a peek at his notes, but he said that he had forgotten them today. Then he told me that he must have seen those forms on the internet.

    I suppose that the most reasonable assumption is that he saw this information elsewhere and studied it not realizing what it was. I question the fifteen different versions of that story that he gave me, but there's not a lot I can do about that. Baffling all around.
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sounds like a student to keep an eye on. Future passive and future really don't have very commensurate meanings.
     
  25. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Maybe he saw those types of conjugations in the book and has a bit of a photographic memory. This would explain why they were spelled correctly, but made no sense. He was guessing by using spelling that looked familiar to him.
     
  26. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Possible, but doubtful, especially considering that this possible photographic memory does not apply to any other grammatical concept or vocabulary word we've learned all year.
     

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