A Thought Experiment

If students were left alone in a room to take a test, with no supervision, how many would cheat?

If it’s a small number, is it worth creating an elaborate set of rules and procedures to prevent such cheating?

Would such rules and procedures send a message to the honest students that we don’t trust them?

Just thinking out loud…

(Thanks to the suggestion from Seth Godin on A/J testing – I’m trying a really short post.)

*image from Faculty Focus

6 thoughts on “A Thought Experiment

  1. Honest students generally prefer proctoring so that they don’t lose out to cheaters.

    Of course many colleges have honor codes that take the place of proctoring. Honor codes, however, vary in terms of whether a pledge is made to be duty-bound to report classmates who are cheating. The lawyers in this case caused some college honor codes to be written down to mere encouragement to report cheating in place of an obligation to report cheating.

    Of course technology changes this entire picture. Capturing video of test taking serves two purposes. One it discourages cheating that can be captured on video. Secondly, it becomes evidence of some types of cheating if complaints are later filed.

    What honor codes also changed is the way cheating is dealt with. In my days before retirement at Trinity University faculty had the discretion to assign F grades for cheating. I used this option for several cases of plagiarism. Under its new honor code faculty at my former university no longer have the discretion to assign an F-grade. Instead evidence of cheating is assigned to a student-run honor code board that decides if and how much punishment will be give for cheating. Of course suspension and expulsion is still the final decision of administrators.

    I’m told that students are pretty tough doling out punishments to other students.


    1. good points; I’ll have to check your web site to see if you have references to honor codes. I am thinking about writing a paper on the existence and effectiveness of honor codes.


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