Professor Confronts Cheaters At University of Central Florida

Professor Richard Quinn of University of Central Florida delivered this lecture after discovering that at least one-third of the class had cheated on a midterm exam.

The only question is the sanction. The result appears to be that everyone gets to retake the exam, including those students who cheated. Quinn intervened to prevent the students from being punished. I was with him on the whole lecture until the conclusion. The students will be required to take a four-hour ethics course if they chose to retake the exam. I am also a bit skeptical about the use of exam from “exam banks” or a publisher supplied exam. Such tests are often available publicly. You do not have these problems if you draft your own exams.

Jonathan Turley

69 thoughts on “Professor Confronts Cheaters At University of Central Florida”

  1. Tootie,

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised you’re a bigger fan of rote memorization than critical thinking and analysis.

    Students are supposed to be learning all the material covered in class. Since teachers can’t always cover everything on the exam, testing a random sample means that the student still has to learn everything to guarantee a good grade on the test.

  2. I hate it when teachers punish the innocent for what the guilty do. And I hate it when teachers make it impossible to know what it is they will test you on. If it isn’t cheating, I certainly think it is a form of dishonesty.

    Why make it a mystery as to what should be learned for each test? Isn’t the goal to teach a specific set of information because that information is so vitally important? If so then how is making students guess what the teacher will have on the test the most effective and efficient way to do that?

    Set the test out there precisely, ahead of time, and then let the students consume exactly what you want them to eat. If you want to challenge them, just set out a lot. But set it all out explicitly. Why? Because you want them to acquire the information. That’s the goal.

    What is the purpose of education but to learn that which the teacher wants you to learn? How can that occur effectively when they don’t TELL you specifically what it is they want you to learn for the test?

    Is the test to test the student’s ability to guess what is to be on the test or is it to test how much or how well the student has absorbed and understands the exactly specified information? It ought to be to test for absorbing and understanding. But it should be done in the most efficient and effective way. And guessing what will be on the test is the least efficient and effective.

    The best tests are question/answer formats combined with the question/comment format to prove understanding of the memorized information. I realize that math problems are a different. You have to perform the functions accurately. Yet, most teachers, even then, will give partial credit for the parts done correctly.

    Every answer for the test (except for math questions) should have been provided by the teacher ahead of time.

    Yes, that is exactly what I mean to say. The teachers should provide the answers to all the tests they give. Students should then be tested on how much they can memorize and, from the question/comment section, how much they understand about all they have memorized.

    Cheating, as I understand it, is when you have the answers for a test written on the bottom of your shoe or some such thing. In this no time was spent memorizing, or reading, or preparing to answer a question with a written response (except for writing it on the shoe). But if a student memorizes what he knows to be exactly the answers the teacher wants, THAT IS indeed part of actual learning. This fellow (and many like him) seem to treat this as cheating. It isn’t.

    Providing the students with exactly what you want them to absorb and be tested on is just plain effective and efficient teaching.

    The written comment portion of a test is where the A, B, and C students is to be discovered. From there, it is learned what the student understands about the explicit facts you forced him or her to memorize ahead of time, but provided to him or her in precise and exact detail exactly as they would appear on the test (or perhaps even in trick question form).

    I like trick questions too because they force the student to “listen” to the question before answering. These are often done in a true or false format. I don’t believe they are dishonest. They test both rote memorization and understanding. But the teacher should always announce it if they have the policy of trick questions.

    The problem is mostly bad pedagogy. American teachers are awful about this. From college on down they need to teach and test more honestly.

    That is a good way to teach honesty to students and, though it wouldn’t eliminate real cheating, it would eliminate being accused of cheating for efficiently learning what was hoped to be learned in the first place.

  3. Mespo and Buddha,

    Goat’s for people who don’t have antelope in their freezer.

    Sis.

    Yeah, and that’s still after you said Mespo had no life.

    Hey, look my scroll wheel STILL works, and I’m STILL smart enough to know that I can actually go and look at the order things happened in.

    Oops.

  4. Buddha:

    “Goat.

    It’s not just for trolls anymore.

    Speaking of which, I think I hear the siren call of banana pudding . . ..”

    “””””””””””””””””””””

    Answer that call and I’ll see you at Cabritos later for the “Cabrito Special”: Garlic and chili rubbed goat tacos.

    http://www.cabritonyc.com/menus_dinner.htm

  5. I’m about to take mespo to task right now.

    Goat.

    It’s not just for trolls anymore. 😉

    Speaking of which, I think I hear the siren call of banana pudding . . .

  6. Sisyphus Assist, if you disagree with something mespo has written why not just say so? I have disagreed with him a couple of times and he always responds with patience and respect. I’ve never felt the need to insult him directly or by implication in order to make a point and he has never insulted me for not seeing the point he is making or for disagreeing with him.

  7. Carry on there Sisy. Ass. (pardon the juvenile name but it fits so well.) I’m anxiously waiting to learn how deep the hole you’re digging will go as you throw all that mud around.Thanks to Gyges’ recap, you’ll be able to fool no one with that “poor, poor pitiful me” routine.

    You have given me one spectacular gift today though — the undying gratitude to the human genome that I am not you.

    Turkey for Gyges? Go back to your crow there Sisy, or maybe it’s goat for a troll such as yourself.

  8. gyes; oops…look at the condescending dibble from mespo…oh “Sisspussy Ass” at 7:05 from a mespo proxy,,,oh, gee go back to your turkey…

  9. Well, attempted to cut and paste and my comment posted prematurely.. 🙂

    What follows (and was posted accidentally, in my previous comment) are Natapoff’s comments about herself, posted on amazon.com:

    “I have also been a federal public defender, a community organizer, and the recipient of an Open Society Institute Community Fellowship.

    Although the criminal system is an enormous part of American society, its workings are often invisible. I write about the social and legal dynamics of criminal justice in an effort to understand the system as a whole–from lofty constitutional ideals all the way down to the experiences of the person sitting in jail. I am Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, and a member of the American Law Institute. I have also been a federal public defender, a community organizer, and the recipient of an Open Society Institute Community Fellowship.”

  10. Isabel Darcy,

    You said, “punishing 2/3 of the class as a means to get them to turn in the 1/3 who did cheat is “group punishment”-a technique similar to what the Nazis used. It is immoral.”

    No one agrees with that more than I…

    You then said, “I for one do not think we have descended to this level as a society.”

    Fortunately, there are many good people in this country. And while, as “a society” we aren’t there yet, we’re definitely moving in that direction.

    It’s much worse than you think. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get things turned around… Someone needs to take a good, hard look at what’s been going on domestically for the past 10 years (and probably more). We can ignore it, but it’s only going to get worse…

    The following book by Alexandra Natapoff sheds some light, but doesn’t tell the full story:

    Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice – Hardcover (Nov. 16, 2009)

    Natapoff is a Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, and a member of the American Law Institute. I have also been a federal public defender, a community organizer, and the recipient of an Open Society Institute Community Fellowship.

    Although the criminal system is an enormous part of American society, its workings are often invisible. I write about the social and legal dynamics of criminal justice in an effort to understand the system as a whole–from lofty constitutional ideals all the way down to the experiences of the person sitting in jail. I am Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, and a member of the American Law Institute. I have also been a federal public defender, a community organizer, and the recipient of an Open Society Institute Community Fellowship.

    Print this

  11. Anon Nurse-

    punishing 2/3 of the class as a means to get them to turn in the 1/3 who did cheat is “group punishment”-a technique similar to what the Nazis used. It is immoral. I for one do not think we have descended to this level as a society.

  12. James M.,

    I was never officially in a Frat…But I had friends with some rather distinguished family relations and got all of the exams in college I could use….I had one professor at UT named Forrest Hill that taught the hardest Economics class that I had ever take….it was called “Growth and Welfare of the Nations Past: The 1800’s to present”…..The exam was even harder…someone came into class with a tape recorder…yes Tape…and he started berating them for making outlines for a “Professional” outline bank…I still remember him saying that was ok, because he changed his class strategy every year…Damn if he didn’t…then another professor I had, had been an American Ambassador to someplace in South America….he had the second hardest economics class I had ever taken….it dealt with “WHO.” I must have been crazy to have taken them….but I survived…then took a few plan two courses….

  13. I will say that if the tests came from an exam bank, what can he do about it….Take up the exams at the end of the designated time….but if he allowed them out…how is that cheating….The Law School I went to in Michigan….had an enormous bank of previous exams….including the sample ethics exams….what the hell is his problem…..

  14. Buddha,

    I was going to same “Shame on you for going for the low lying fruit,” but yours works as well.

  15. Sisyphus,

    You really should know that most of us know how to use the scroll wheel on the mouse, and that your posts are time stamped.

    Because I’m waiting for the oven to preheat, I checked on your claim that you didn’t start the name calling.

    “Sisyphus Assist 1, November 24, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    mesp..judging from the post-recorded time intervals, and frequency here, you don’t have a life…but I digress…”

    “Sisyphus Assist 1, November 24, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Paleo-Dick

    Oh, its the teachers fault…”

    And the first use of Sisy. Ass.

    “mespo727272 1, November 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Sisy. Ass.:”

    Oops.

  16. Observer: Sychophant, like some? Try a re=read….the name calling started “Sisy ass”…pretty childish really. But this isn’t Mespo’s first temper tantrum, namecalling, insult sling…just my box score…

  17. Sisyphus Assist,

    It’s Thanksgiving — a good day to reflect (on issues related to unresolved anger, perhaps?), a good day to give thanks; to forgive (as AY mentioned earlier today); to be nice, caring, etc. A good day to eat turkey, relax and hang out with family and friends. A good day to deal with one’s “issues”, maybe.

    Mespo doesn’t need “an assist” — he can handle this all on his own (see his last response), but your comments are really “out of line.”

    Here’s a twist on an old saying: “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t roll stones. Or assist in rolling stones.”

    Happy Thanksgiving, Sis. Have a good one, and be sure to check your blood pressure.

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