Monday, August 13, 2007

Someone cheated on the quiz

and (Quick! Everyone pretend to look surprised!) it's this student.

The evidence isn't rock solid, but I'm certain enough. (Two pieces of terminology used wrongly and weirdly and one made-up term that doesn't even exist. Both identical to the mistakes of the girl who was sitting next to her. None of these particular mistakes appeared in any of the other 88 students' quizzes.)

I'm not sure what I'll do if she doesn't confess, though. Even if I could prove that the two quizzes are too similar for it to be coincidence, it could have been that the other student copied from this one rather than vice versa. Considering the circumstances, I don't think that's likely, but I can't prove it isn't so. And I can't penalise both students for something that one of them was probably unaware of.


TeachingClio said...

Oh my...that's a tough situation. All but one of the cheaters that I've caught had plagiarized papers; I don't have many words of wisdom for you, I'm afraid. Is there a professor at your uni that can provide advice on how to proceed?

Twirly said...

I'm sure there is a departmental or university policy to follow? Short of asking her outright and seeing if she admits it.

Secret Squirrel said...

There is a department policy, but our head of department is kind of lax on cheaters. The official policy is that I should write up a document detailing the evidence for their cheating, then confront the students, then pass it on to the HOD. He is supposed to penalise them, if (a) they admit to it, or (b) the evidence is clear. If they don't admit to it, I don't think the evidence is strong enough that he would do anything.

Even if they do admit to it, historically, he has tended not to do anything other than giving them zero for the assignment that is plagiarised/cheated on. Anything more is "too much work".

In this case, the quiz is only worth 5% of their grade, and they only got half of it right anyway. So the worst that will happen is they will lose 2.5 %. More likely, if the girl doesn't confess, there will be no consequences.


I plan to take her aside for a heart-to-heart and at least make her feel really bad. And let her know that I will be keeping a very close eye on her work from now on.

Bardiac said...

I HATE when the administrators don't take cheating seriously! I hope you can get proper support for this.

The History Enthusiast said...

Thankfully my institution does draw a really hard line for much so that one of our department heads brags about how many cheaters we catch. I hope the situation works out for you!