Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cheating at Duke

As a reminder to everyone doing finals, DON'T CHEAT!!

From Business Week:

"....school officials said that Duke is taking disciplinary action against 34 of the school's first-year MBA students—almost 10% of the school's 2008 class—for allegedly cheating on an open-book, take-home final in one of the school's required core classes. It is the largest episode of cheating in the school's history, officials said. "There is a great deal of concern. The honor code is a cornerstone for the culture that we have here, and we take a violation of it quite seriously," said Mike Hemmerich, Fuqua's associate dean for marketing and communications."

From NY Times:
"The final was an open-book test....But many students collaborated....School officials declined to identify the course, the professor or the students, citing confidentiality....

Nine of the students face expulsion, according to the ruling, which was distributed within the business school on Friday. Fifteen students were suspended for a year and given a failing grade in the course; nine were given a failing grade in the course, and one got a failing grade on the exam. Four students accused of cheating were exonerated."

Reminder, DO NOT CHEAT!


Anonymous said...

This is why I hate take-home exams. The only time take-home exams really make sense are when the bulk of the exam requires using a computer program (such as econometrics) or if the exam is basically long essay question that any Professor can easily differentiate the work of each student.

I'm in a graduate program and I wouldn't be surprised if at least 5-10% of the students have violated the ethical code. One of my teachers had take-home midterms where he basically proclaimed that the marginal cost of enforcing the ethical code was too high and he didn't care if students collaborate. Considering that other teachers' idea of enforcing the ethical code on take-home exams is requiring a signed statement that they did not collaborate (which deters plenty of students), I thought he overestimated the expected cost.

Except in the two styles of exam mentioned above, the take-home exam concept basically means that students don't have to actually learn material before an exam, but have the luxury of looking it up in a text. The only reason to pay 3k a class in graduate school for that is if the degree is only a signal.

FinanceProfessor said...

I have to agree. I try very hard not to give take home exams for that reason.

In fact I try to use economics to prevent cheating in exams too by rewarding fellow students who anonymously turn students in cheating (given that we can prove the other student was cheating) the tippee gets a reward of 2/3ds of the points on the assignment/test added to their score.

And yes it has led to students turning in others!