31 August 2012

Harvard cheating scandal involves hundreds of students

It happened on an open-book exam (!!!)
After similarities were noticed in up to 20 student exam papers by an examiner, the matter was brought to the attention of the administrative board and an investigation was launched.

That probe has now found some 125 of the course's final papers were suspicious and has begun contacting students involved.

Possible punishments range from being suspended for a year to an official warning. The class was taken by only 250 students meaning a staggering half are now suspected of cheating.

The newspaper quoted an email sent to students taking the exam that said it was "completely open book, open note, open internet, etc.." but warned them not to discuss it with each other and to treat it as an "in-class" exam.
The course?   Government 1310: Introduction to Congress.  LOL.

Addendum:  An interesting followup article in Salon, with one student saying:
Harvard chose to go public with this story to first and foremost save their own asses. They wanted to get the version that they wanted out to the public first. Why did they do this? A large number of the students involved had threatened to go public with this unfair process and an even larger number of students have already lawyered up and are preparing to sue the college, professor platt, and every single TF in the course. Myself included.

11 comments:

  1. Intro to Congress? Sounds like half the class is a shoe-in to future office. Unfortunately.

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  2. My guess is they independently got their answers from the same place. They don't have to discuss it with each other to use the complete openness to find places where past exams are stored. A few students I can see discussing with each other...but 125?

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  3. Ope Book, Open Note, Open Internet???? This is Harvard University, Correct? Why on earth would you give such a test to students who are supposedly "the cream of the academic crop"???? WTF????

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    1. Some of the hardest tests I had were open book, open note. The point is to encourage research into a matter. In fact, I would prefer a good open note test to a multiple choice any day with regard to its ability to foster critical thinking and research skills.

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    2. I quite agree. That's basically what life after school is - one continuous open book exam.

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    3. Harvard and the other Ivy League schools haven't been the cream of the academic crop for decades (if they ever were). They have experienced grade inflation at rates higher than most other schools.

      They are places where the privileged can send their children to network with other privileged young adults. Truly dedicated members of the underprivileged classes are admitted (usually with substantial scholarships and financial aid) to keep things diverse, but no one needs to worry about failing anything at Harvard.

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  4. I must say, I went to Yale some 20 years ago and never once had an open book or open note test. Sounds like a ridiculous easy A class gone terribly wrong.

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    Replies
    1. Of course, blame the teachers for the student's cheating.

      That's class right there.

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  5. I had a history teacher in an honors class in 8th grade. All tests were open book and open note. If you didn't know the material thoroughly, you were sunk. The tests were very difficult, and the only way the notes or the book helped was if you knew exactly where to find a quote, a date, etc. Other than essay tests in a few university classes, those were the toughest exams I ever took.

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  6. Why aren't they being expelled?

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    Replies
    1. Amy, see the link I just added as an Addendum.

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