Who was cheating and who is at fault?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by eddygirl, Mar 17, 2012.

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  1. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Mar 18, 2012

    Exactly. In my school, the "rule" is that you can say if the test was hard, easy, long, short, etc. However, we don't like students saying "This was a specific question or concept on the test."
    My favorite conversation to hear in the hallways is when Student A asks if Question X was on the test, and Student B says "Sorry, I can't tell you."
     
  2. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Mar 18, 2012

    I don't understand the unfair advantage idea. Why is it unfair? Don't we test on facts and concepts that have already been taught to student via books, lectures, reading, etc? There should be no surprise on the tests. Many teachers even give study guides that inform students what material is deemed most important to narrow down the scope for study purposes. So, I don't see that looking at a different test from the past other than maybe the first one of the year is really an unfair advantage. The first test of the year gives the student the idea of how a teacher approaches testing, but after that, I really see no unfair advantage. It is just different information.

    Are you to say it is unfair if a student has a parent that will work with the student to study the material or a tutor to help the student learn material more in depth? Is it an unfair advantage for a student to have a teacher as a parent because they have expertise in teaching and learning? That parent will probably help the child understand testing more than other parents. So, where do we stop at saying a student has an unfair advantage.
     
  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Does that mean that students who use education websites have an unfair advantage over those who don't have internet access? And that, as a result, they should not use the intenet?

    Or that my husband and I should not work with our own children, since having a teacher as a parent presents an unfair advantage??

    Again, if each class gets a different test, there's no problem.
     
  4. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Mar 18, 2012

    Dang! I would be tempted to REWARD both students, if it happened in my school, because they actually cared enough about academics to put some effort into cheating!

    :lol:
     
  5. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    Mar 18, 2012

    Time to "Stir the Pot"
    Thank you so much for all the great responses, but I feel I have to "stir the pot" to see if it influences any of your opinions.

    Some time ago, there was a post about leaving your school to seek a teaching position elsewhere, and if the materials you created were your property or the property of the school you were leaving. It made me think about this situation--when all is said and done, is a test the property of the teacher or of the student? The student did not create the test, even though he is asked to complete the answers on the test. Should he have a right to give it to someone else, even if the teacher has given it back to him?
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Mar 18, 2012

    A lawyer weighed in early on in this thread. His response was that once the test was given back to the student, it became unquestionably the property of the student. If that's the root of the question, I would go with his judgement.
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2012

    I studied off of old tests all the time in highschool. If a teacher is going to return tests, then they need to make new ones the following year.

    I don't think Student A cheated at all.
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Mar 18, 2012

    One of the issues is whether or not it is right to punish the student who gave away his test. It can go either way, but in the end, it is hard to prove intent. He could argue, that he only wanted to help, and his friend was only supposed to use it as a study guide. He technically didn't do anything, because he was given this test, without any restrictions on what to do with it.

    This can be avoided by changing up the questions / answers and monitoring the students closely. All it takes is to stay behind them, not in front of them. If a students is trying to cheat, he'll be keeping an eye on you, to see if you're watching. If you are constantly in the back of the room, the students don't know if you're watching them.
    The cheater will not feel comfortable cheating, while he doesn't know if he's being watched. He'll sometime turn around, but he will really stand out, so by the time he'll look at you, you'll be staring back at him.
    This is one of my favorite strategies, that's why I have my desk in the back of the room, and I try to stay there as much as possible.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Mar 18, 2012

    I use the same test throughout the day. I have 2-3 versions of the same test, with the answers scrambled.

    I am not as worried about them memorizing any particular sequence because they do not know if they'll get an A version or a B version. I am worried about them figuring out an analysis question together. Discussing which way the graph should be interpreted, what would happen if the salinity level rose, etc. I teach the students the basic concepts but I do often expect them to use those concepts and figure out questions on their own. If they truly know the material they will be able to do so.

    I tell my students that they should keep the test questions to themselves but I know they talk to their friends at lunch. My students are extremely competitive, though, even with those friends. So I remind them that I base the reviews before tests, the level of complexity, the length, and such on ALL of my students' performances. So if first period shares so much information that third period does much better than they, it will just look like first did not prepare as well as third. If all the grades average out to a mid to high A, then I can slack off a little because I know they are capable of getting it on their own. Or, first period might end up with a day of remediation while third gets a fun lab outside.
     
  10. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Mar 18, 2012

    I disagree that a test has no surprises, especially at the honors level. This is why I think that seeing an old test could help a lot. Even if different forms are made, the tests are still very similar. I had a US History teacher in high school who gave multiple choice questions that required very deep thought. If I had seen one of his old tests, that would have helped a lot. I would have done better on the tests.
    I'm sorry, but at least at my school, passing along old tests is not acceptable, which is why most teachers collect tests. We had a few students sneak on to a teacher's computer and steal the old midyear exam. They received a zero on their midyear.
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2012

    Neither of those were the case in this situation.

    As for students talking between class, that is just a reality of school. We've seen some examples where kids can be motivated NOT to divulge too much information, but we've also seen posts reminding us that ALL the kids have presumably been instructed on the same material and reviewed that material with the teacher before the test. Frankly, any information kids share with other classes on test day isn't going to help the other classes significantly if the test is designed well and there are different versions.

    In my 6th grade class last year, I always used a combination of multiple choice and short answer. Some problems had the answer given (along with three incorrect choices), so they had at least a 25% chance to guess correctly. But then some questions required them to solve a similar problem manually, with no help or hint about the right answer. If the kids knew the material and how to apply it, they could do well on the short answer. If they didn't know the material, it didn't matter if they tried to tell their friends the answer because their friends usually didn't understand the material either and ended up making the same mistake.

    It's important to remember that, while the questions have not been officially "released" on test day, neither have the student scores. So students in 1st period may know what the questions were, but they don't know (yet) if they got the question right or not. What I saw in my experience was, when they tried to share information with their friends, their friends just ended up making the same mistakes on the same questions.

    As for absconding with tests, that hasn't been an issue in the example being discussed, but I would agree any students doing that are completely guilty and should get a "0" on the test along with other consequences.
     
  12. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2012

    I can answer this since my position from last year was not renewed.

    Any work I gave back to the students was theirs to keep or not keep, including the tests they took. They could also use previous tests to study for upcoming tests that might cover some of the same material - like the midterm. Once I gave work or tests back to the student, it belonged to them.

    The same is true for all the material I created using school resources; all of those stayed with the school. This includes all the tests I created and worksheets I gave out. Unless I paid for it with my own money, it stayed with the school when I left.
     
  13. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Mar 19, 2012

    Interesting side note... I did neglect to lock my car one night when it was parked right outside my apartment. It got broken into, and they stole my Glee Christmas CD (and I think a few other Christmas CDs that I had in there), as well as maybe four dollars in change. Was it my fault that my stuff got stolen? No. In fact, what I did turned out to be very smart! My neighbour locked his car, and the window was broken!

    Anyway, as for the test... student A bears no responsibility, imo.
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Mar 19, 2012

    Is it your fault the thief decided to steal from other people? No. Did your unlocked doors make your car an easier target? Yes. Was your neighbor's car burglarized the same time as yours? If so, then there's a good argument that the thief was determined to steal that night regardless of the obstacles, but under most circumstance, they are going to go for the easier targets and leaving your doors unlocked made our car an easy target.

    I've said it several times already, but I'll clarify it once more:

    Student A bears no responsibility (in my opinion).
    Student B bears complete responsibility for his/her decision to cheat.
    The teacher could have prevented the entire scenario by just changing the tests each year, so there is a level of responsibility there as well. It isn't his/her fault Student B decided to cheat (and Student B should face the full consequences of that decision on their own), but the teacher did enable the cheating to occur when (s)he could have prevented it very easily.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 19, 2012

    Cerek, if you reread monsieurteacher's post, you should find that he was not in fact disagreeing with you.

    In any case, you might want to rethink the tone of your reply, which is more than slightly condescending.
     
  16. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Mar 19, 2012

    I've dealt with this issue as a principal and AP. The Math Department at my old school would all use the exact same tests and quizzes for each class, each class would also take the test/quiz within the same day of each other. Inevitably, students would talk about test/quiz questions over lunch or at home. Thinking that students will not is pretty unrealistic. It is impossible to stop students from doing so.

    I've also dealt with the issue of returned tests and quizzes. I agree once the test or quiz is returned it is the students property. I am the point in my career where I have enough old tests and quiz questions that I can constantly change things up, but If I weren't I would simply use answer sheets for students and return those to them. Each year I would then just scramble the question order.
     
  17. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Mar 19, 2012

    I did reread his post before replying. He agreed Student A bears no responsibility in the issue. He disagreed the owner of a car is responsible (on some level) for items being stolen from his/her car if they leave their door unlocked. I disagree with that, although monsieurteacher did provide a good justification for his viewpoint - that the neighbor who DID lock their car had their window broken in addition to items being stolen from the car.

    So I addressed the two points in his post; one we agreed on and one we did not.

    As for my tone, that can sometimes be hard to convey (and easy to misread) through written words without the benefit of volume, inflection and emphasis that accompany words that are spoken. If my post sounded condescending, it was unintentional, but after rereading my post, I don't see anything condescending about what I said. We agreed, we disagreed and I restated my position on the three people involved in the incident. Nothing more, nothing less.
     
  18. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Mar 20, 2012

    I wasn't so much trying to make a point, as just state the fact that while in general, it's not a good idea to leave your car unlocked, my forgetfulness saved me a lot of hassle.
     
  19. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I haven't read this whole thread, but to address the issue of being too "lazy" to remake a test:

    It is very easy in math to change 5x + 10 = 35 or 3x + 12 = 24 - you are still testing the same thing. How many different ways are there to ask: " Explain the title of To Kill a Mockingbird. How is the "mockingbird" a motif that supports the theme?" Since this is the overarching theme and symbolism in the book, you can't really avoid the question.

    As far as this scenario, though, I don't think Student A should have gotten in trouble for it.
     
  20. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    But, I would argue that an essay type question such as the ones given for To Kill a Mockingbird are not as important to change. If a student memorizes an answer to that question, has he or she not learned the material? That's different than memorizing multiple choice answers, for example.
     
  21. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Suppose student A did the same thing, only student B decided to throw out the test and use his own notes to study from... should Student A still be punished?
     
  22. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    However, that student has an advantage because he knew it would be a question and could memorize the answer.
    The other students taking the test would NOT know the question in advance and would have to think of the answer on the spot.
     
  23. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    When my students take a test, we have discussed the topics that will be covered as essay questions on the test. There would be no advantage to knowing the exact wording of the test, because we would have already discussed it.
     
  24. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    In the high school I went to, we did not discuss the exact essay questions in advance. For the essay questions, we needed to come up with ideas on the spot because they were not previously discussed.
    Also, even if you give possible essay topics, the student with the copy of the test will know the exact essay question, while other students only have ideas. You may give the exact essay questions, but in my school and the schools around me, that never happens. So having a copy of the essay questions would be a major advantage.
    If a teacher plans on reusing essay questions or short answer questions, I think it would be a really bad idea to give the tests to the students to keep.
     
  25. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    You can argue any specific question or point, but that doesn't change the underlying issue.

    If the title of the book and the symbolism of the mockingbird are the major archways of the study, then the teacher should remind the students how important those concepts are in the test review. Even if (s)he doesn't mention it, high school students should be perceptive enough to figure out "This is a MAJOR point, so there is a GOOD chance it will be on the test." Even if you are asking the same basic question, the wording can still be changed and the question asked from a different perspective. If the teacher doesn't want to do that, then they can hand the tests back to review the answers, then collect and keep them when they're done.

    Also, essay questions test the students critical thinking and communication skills as well as the content knowledge. I agree it would be an advantage to know the exact wording of the question ahead of time so the student can think about their answer, but they still have to put their thoughts down in a coherent and concise manner while answering the major points of the question. Grading on essay questions is also a lot more subjective than multiple choice, so the teacher can deduct points if the answer sounds too contrived for the student to come up with on his/her own.
     
  26. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    Agree, when I took the CSET in math, I reviewed a problem from previous exams the day before the test, and on the CSET, I got exactly the same question. But, certainly, if I had brought the notes from that problem in, it would definitely have been cheating...

    Someone mentioned siblings, we had a situation at my school where the older sibling had all her old science homework packets, and the younger sibling was taking them, changing the name, and turning them in as her own. She was punished but the older sister was not.
     
  27. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I'd like to know what proof there is that Student A actually GAVE the tests to Student B. What if Student B had stolen the tests? Taken pictures of them? Would Student A still receive a harsh punishment?
     
  28. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Mar 21, 2012

    But it still makes it a whole lot easier to write an essay when you know the question in advance, which isn't fair. Putting thoughts down on a piece of paper is much easier when you have what you're writing planned out. Which is why a teacher must collect tests if she plans on reusing questions.
    Personally, I believe that having any old tests would help a student do better. However, if the student was given the exact questions on the test, an essay question for example, then that is definitely unfair to the other students.
     
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