Sunday, April 21, 2013

In which a Student Devises a Scheme

 Sunday comic!

class motto is 'try it, let's see what you got'What's the most elaborate cheating scheme your students have tried?


  1. Breaking into the secretary's computer and stealing a soft copy of the exam. Fortunately, the revised draft was sufficiently different and so hey gave themselves away by giving answers correct for the first draft and not the second.

    1. Were you able to use that as proof to convict them?

  2. Welllll, not as a proffie, but I DID have a classmate who, back in the days of yellow #2 pencils, came into the Calc exam with seven of them, each beautifully and near-microscopically inscribed with Calc formulas on the flat yellow sides.

    At six sides per pencil, that was a lot of formulas. He said it took him about 8 hours. Studying probably would have taken him 4.

    He DID get away with it.

  3. I mentioned this in a previous comment a few weeks ago, but here goes:

    A non-student (he had actually previously taken the course in another year) sat down with everyone else, and managed to escape the exam hall in the first 10 minutes. The non-student then figured out all the answers, and later texted all the answers to their friend in the exam hall. This student filled in the multiple choice exam based on the texted answers. How was she caught? The non-student had a different version than what the student had, so she filled in the answers to a completely different version which didn't match the version she'd handed in, and because we'd had signature sheets filled in such that we could 'map' the exam room, we realized her answers didn't match any nearby neighbour with the same version. Figuring the whole thing out made me feel somewhat Harry Bosch-ish. This whole thing was pretty ballsy because the non-student had to successfully get out of the exam room with an exam in hand, unnoticed, and the student had to be able to view her cell phone and copy out 100 text characters, unnoticed.

    We actually formally changed a couple of exam procedures because of this one case. We now hire staff solely to guard all exits. We don't let anyone leave until it has been confirmed that they've signed an exam signature sheet and shown a student ID, and also surrendered their exam (well, we did try to do all of these things before this, but from looking at it with a more critical eye we realized the whole logistics of it all depended on students actually following the rules rather than bolting and getting the hell out of Dodge - now we've got the muscle to keep a lid on things).

    1. I dealt with a variation on this soon after I started teaching.

      I had a group of students in a course who were rumoured to cheat like the dickens, but I never caught them at it. The course was divided into 2 sections and I taught both of them.

      As I remember, that course had 2 mid-term exams. For the first one, I believe I gave the same exam. (I don't remember why, but I might have been too busy to make up different ones.) The results of the first mid-term confirmed my suspicions that someone of that group in the first section smuggled his answers out of the exam room. There were students in the second group who I knew were doing poorly in the course but managed to do well on the exam.

      For the second mid-term, I gave separate exams to each section. One of the second group stormed into my office after his exam was over and chewed me out, alleging that I tested the students on material we hadn't covered and so forth.

      In one of those sections during the second mid-term exam, I noticed a few cases of wandering eyes. When I announced "Eyes on your own paper," or something like that, several students looked up, every one of them a member of that group of alleged cheaters.

  4. Mine aren't very inventive (or, if they are, I don't catch them). I did have a student turn in a portion of an article from the New Yorker (or was it the New Republic?) as a "research paper," back when such activities actually required retyping. He was a reasonably competent student, but his father had promised him a sports car if he got an A, and reasonably competent = B (maybe B+) in my book. So instead he got an F and a warning from the Honor Board. Whether either he or daddy learned anything from the experience I'm not sure.


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