The FRustration of Watching Cheating

Posted: January 21, 2010 in Ethics and Morality

I have often said that one reason I quit college was looking around and seeing people cheat their way to completion of courses. In retrospect the only valid complaint I had was how unfair it was for those of us who would not cheat to have unreal expectations made for us. Student who did cheat made passing courses with good grades impossible for the rest of us. The issue of the value of the degree being negated by those who cheated probably shouldn’t have been of concern for me because upon graduation my degree was real rather than fake.

In the Navy I had the opportunity to be part of the staff of the Personnel & Training Evaluation Program. One of my duties was to proctor tests of off-crews during their off-crew training cycles of fleet ballistic missile submarines. While I proctored several hundred tests I caught exactly one person copying from his neighbor’s answers. I called his chief up to the podium and told him that I would simply destroy the answer sheet of the cheater because tolerating cheating destroys the integrity of the system.

To this day I believe any system that purports to yield valid data measuring student progress but has no real security built in is useless. It only fools those who are too naïve to realize the potential for mischief. Many know, but ignore the signs because they believe it doesn’t really affect them; or they are among the cheaters.

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