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#162771 - 11/13/06 11:06 AM Re: Grammar
TheFallibleFiend Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA
"Hey, FF. Do you live in NoVA?"
Yes.

"The amount of cheating that technology helps to detect is about 1 one millionth of that which it enables. "
The truth is sufficiently tragic and irritating that it is dimeaned by this sort of hyperbole. We should also acknowledge that the truth is also more complicated than the discussion so far reflects.

There is, sadly, as with so many other tnings, a racial tinge to the conversation. My daughters have always been proud of their dual ethnicity, but recently my oldest daughter was almost teary when she confided that "sometimes she was ashamed to be asian."

She says that she's under enormous pressure to cheat. Other students are always trying to give her unsolicited information - and sometimes when she's desperate she's tempted. Sometimes they're really obnoxious about it - "HA! You're SOOOO STUPID! You spent all that time working on that lab and the whole thing is posted online!"

So far she has nearly straight As, but she expects her grades to drop soon. This is not something that worried me in school. I really didn't care in school. I actually believed (and still believe) that cheaters eventually get what's coming to them. Also, I just never cared about grades - not my own, and not anyone else's.

But this is really getting her. She's looking into colleges and is saying, "Daddy, look, I'm taking two APs this year and I'm barely hanging on. These other guys are 5 APs and they're getting the same grades. But colleges don't have any way of knowing who got their grades by doing the work and who got it by cheating."

"Well, not directly, but they're probably going to think it's pretty suspicious when someone gets straight As, but only gets a 3 on the AP."

"Not true. They have a ready excuse - 'I just don't test well.'"

"Well, why don't you just rat them out? Give them a warning - and say anyone I catching cheating after a certain date will be turned in."

"I can't! They're already pissed at me. Even the teachers will be won't believe who's doing it and you KNOW their parents won't. I just wanna get through this."

"How can your teachers fix things, if they don't understand the magnitude of the problem? Things are only going to change with you and other students make a stand."

And so on. Of course sports has similar issues, largely because there are full scholarships available for sports.

Actually, I've spoken to the principle about this - and he's taken a small measure to improve things, but she's still miserable. It sucks, but I'm convinced she's going to have to either accept it or act herself.


Edited by TheFallibleFiend (11/13/06 11:31 AM)

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#162772 - 11/13/06 11:25 AM Re: Grammar
ParkinT Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/30/06
Posts: 293
Loc: Orlando
I only asked about NoVA because (until 2004) I lived in Sterling for 16 years.
========
My son, in a Computer Science major in college, has encountered similar difficulties. The most astounding was a situation where one student was obviously cheating on software programming assigments.
The work he turned in was a direct cut-and-paste from online examples (including the comments!). What flabbergasted me was this:
when several students made a complaint to the instructor, the instructor addressed the issue by reprimanding the student (in private) for COPYING CODE COMMENTS FROM THE INTERNET.
You are apparently a software developer so you can appreciate how utterly ridiculous a concept this is!! Copying Comments!!
No penalty for cheating! No public disucssion about stealing his work.
This student received the same diploma as the rest of the class.
The only consoling factor is that this student will never keep a job as a software developer.

All: Please forgive the rant.
_________________________
"I am certain there is too much certainty in the world" -Michael Crichton

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#162773 - 11/13/06 11:48 AM Re: Grammar
TheFallibleFiend Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA
I taught various programming classes in college - BASIC, PL/I, Pascal, advanced FORTRAN, assembler, and Algorithms. In fact, the woman I would eventually start dating and marry took 3 courses from me and dropped each one within a few days. (Some people thought I inflated grades, but they ignored that I had a very high drop rate in the dept, sometimes as high as 50%.)

Anyway, the students occasionally absolutely confounded by the fact that I could detect cheating on their assignments. "How can you POSSIBLY PROVE THAT?" as if it were a big mystery or something.

Reminds me of an incident that happened with my oldest daughter when she's about 4 or 5. It went something like this:
"Amy! Come here! Did you write on this wall?"
"No. Maybe grampa did it."
"Hmmm...well, I asked him and he said he didn't do it."
"Well, maybe Anna (her about 1 year old sister) did it."
"Hmmm...that's an interesting idea, except for two things. First, I don't think she can reach that high, and secondly, I don't THINK she knows how to spell your name."

Usually, when my students cheated, it was about that obvious. I typically told them I wasn't accepting it unless they wanted me to split the grade between them. I always gave them a chance to do over, but I see now I should have been a lot more rigid on this. Inexperience. One of my coworkers also used to teach in college. He always just split their grade and never gave them a chance to make up. He made the students submit electronic copy and wrote a program to compare all the programs in the class.

My daughter consoles herself that the cheaters will eventually do themselves in - like that girl at Harvard who was found guilty of plagiarism. OTOH, that girl was never found guilty of cheating at school.

Her parents did, however, pay a huge amount to have a groomer prep her for entry to her favorite college. Reminds my daughter of a girl in her school who has and has always had an individual tutor for every single subject. She's pretty mad that this girl got into Governor's school as a sophomore when my daughter was rejected. Jealousy is unbecoming. I don't think there's any reason to believe that my daughter's friend is actually cheating and I don't that there's any reason to believe that Harvard student was cheating on her schoolwork either.

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#162774 - 11/13/06 12:12 PM Re: cheating, plagiarism, and lack
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
Cheating was rampant in all the institutions where I've taught CS. On the first day of class, while reviewing the syllabus, I would point out the official university policy on cheating and plagiarism (by URL). Then I would say that if they were going to cheat, they'd have to do it well enough so that I couldn't detect it. Otherwise, immediate F on the offending assignment. It also helped that on programming assignments, I always supplied the API that they needed to implement. It changed from semester to semester and was unlike any other API that I could find on the web. I, too, have seen code copied from elsewhere with copyrights and explanatory comments intact.

My wife teaches also. She once had a student who handed in a mostly (i.e., 80%) plagiarized assignment. The student's excuse when confronted. She'd had a friend do the assignment for her, and it was that friend who was guilty of the plagiarism!
_________________________
Ceci n'est pas un seing.

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#162775 - 11/13/06 02:09 PM Re: Grammar
Father Steve Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/06/00
Posts: 2788
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
They have a ready excuse - 'I just don't test well.'"

I consulted on an extremely senstive issue like this once, where a student/candidate did poorly on a three-day written examination but insisted that this was becuase he did not "test well." Wishing to indulge every charity toward the candidate, the group reviewing the results conceded that not everyone is well suited to a pencil-and-paper timed exam (done on a computer keyboard with a word processor, actually). So they determined to conduct an old-fashioned sit down with the candidate and converse kind of re-examination. What they discovered was that the testee showed even more poorly on the subsequent examination, which, in that case, put to rest the "I don't test well" excuse.

Moral: If you are charged with examining students who want to become brain surgeons, it is not a good idea to defer to their protestations that they do not test well until they have mucked up the brains of several patients, thereby demonstrating their incompetence ... especially if there is any chance that you might become one of their patients.

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#162776 - 11/13/06 02:24 PM Re: Grammar
ParkinT Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/30/06
Posts: 293
Loc: Orlando
Quote:

I typically told them I wasn't accepting it unless they wanted me to split the grade between them.



Very Solomonic!

======================
BTW: How many Object Oriented Programmers does it take to replace a lightbulb?
_________________________
"I am certain there is too much certainty in the world" -Michael Crichton

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#162777 - 11/13/06 02:28 PM Re: Grammar
ParkinT Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/30/06
Posts: 293
Loc: Orlando
Quite an apros pro example, Father.
Although I have argued the invalidity of (so called) I.Q. tests for many years - because the testers' ability to read/comprehend/deduce the test and the test-creator's ability to communicate are in question - I agree that a major part of everyday life involves these skills.
If you are unable to do well on a standardized test, it requires mastering the skill; not supplying a simple excuse.
_________________________
"I am certain there is too much certainty in the world" -Michael Crichton

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#162778 - 11/13/06 02:29 PM Graduation
ParkinT Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/30/06
Posts: 293
Loc: Orlando
Hey!
That last post graduated me to Journeyman!!!

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#162779 - 11/13/06 02:33 PM Re: Graduation
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Quote:

Hey!
That last post graduated me to Journeyman!!!




Rut-roh! Ain't no stoppin' him now!

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#162780 - 11/13/06 02:41 PM Re: Graduation
ParkinT Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/30/06
Posts: 293
Loc: Orlando
In a college class, the onery old teacher (with whom I did not get along well) once accused me:
Constipation of ideas and
Diarrhea of words

I believe, 40 years later, I am able to offer prove to the contrary.
_________________________
"I am certain there is too much certainty in the world" -Michael Crichton

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