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Stanford Has "Significant Increase" in Cheating
Plus, two quotes on cheating. Plus, a court ruling in Indiana. Plus, the AI is cheating.
Cheating at Stanford University Up More than 100%
The Stanford Daily, the student paper at Stanford University, has the story of what they call a “significant increase in honor code violations.” Citing information from the faculty senate, the paper says:
Violations spiked from 138 in the 2018-19 academic year to 202 and 296 in the last two years of online learning.
A 114% increase in two years seems significant. The context of the cheating spike, though, is even more troubling.
Stanford, like other schools, does not proctor remote or online exams. Like, at all. Quoting the story in The Stanford Daily:
the University does not employ any of the anti-cheating systems that are built into Canvas, like proctored tests and lockdown browsers. The University also does not require students to download software such as Honorlock, ProctorU and Proctorio that can flag suspicious behavior or limit the sites students can visit during an exam.
A university spokesperson confirmed, “the university does not use proctoring software for remote examinations.”
Even more, the school’s policy on remote and online testing requires all tests to be entirely open note:
All assignments and exams conducted online must be open resource, meaning open-book and open-note. This includes informational resources available online.
Interestingly, the Stanford policy does ban asking questions of “tutoring” sites during a test. Chegg is mentioned by name.
Not mentioned is Chegg’s cheating cousin Course Hero, which, according to my quick look, has a mere 93,801 searchable course documents from Stanford including essays, past tests and assignments from hundreds of courses.
So, what you have at Stanford - and at other colleges too - was a period of nearly universal online instruction, entirely open note and open Internet, with no required supervision at all. Under those conditions, it’s not plausible that there were only 296 academic integrity violations. How many there really were is impossible to know because, as mentioned, no one was watching.
Two Quotes on Cheating
Sharing two recent quotes about cheating. Cheeky comments added at no additional charge.
Quote one comes from a faculty focus group report at the University of Minnesota. An unnamed teacher said,
I tried to not turn everything into a police state. I don't want them to be filmed during this or having to monitor these types of elements. I did place on every exam my honor code which I use during face-to-face and simply ask that you are completing this work, this is your own, you are not using notes, textbooks or other people at this time. And just simply making that request on their honor, that is what I'm expecting to kind of go on.
Making that request on their honor. That ought to do it.
Quote two comes from a website called Education Technology based in the U.K., from a story headlined, “How edtech companies are enabling academic misconduct.” The writer says,
Access to immediate answers, particularly on platforms that blindly chase profits, creates new opportunities for academic misconduct.
I’m not entirely sure, but I think he may be on to something.
Indiana Court Sides With School in Cheating Case
Indiana Lawyer has the report of a recent case decision regarding a former student at the private Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
According to the report, the student transferred to the school in 2012 and was granted testing accommodations due to ADHD. The student
was reprimanded several times for academic misconduct during his time at the school, including copying another student’s work, submitting duplicate work in a course with another student and using unpermitted notes on an exam and lying about it. Following his third act of misconduct the Rules and Discipline Committee found [student] guilty of repeated acts of academic misconduct. He was suspended for one quarter, after which he could apply for readmission.
Although [student] later applied for readmission multiple times, he was denied by the Admissions and Standing Committee.
The student sued, alleging discrimination as well as:
breach of contract, defamation, false advertising, invasion of privacy and harassment. He later amended his complaint, alleging malice and requesting punitive damages.
The Court sided with the school and reprimanded the student’s lawyer. The Court concluded that some of the student’s arguments, “fell well within the bounds of Rose-Hulman’s academic judgment.”
AI is Learning to Cheat on Tests
Unite.AI has a fascinating story about AI learning to cheat on tests. It’s worth a read.
The article is detailed and rigorous but the bottom line is that, by rewarding the correct answers, and especially those which can be returned quickly, AI has learned to find cheating shortcuts. The problem, the article says:
occurs because the model learns ‘shortcut responses’ far earlier in the training than it learns more complicated types of knowledge acquisition. Since increased accuracy is often rewarded quite indiscriminately throughout training, the model then prioritizes any approach that will let it answer a question ‘glibly’, and without real insight.
Though not aimed at pedagogy, it’s nonetheless interesting as the use of Internet searches in academic cheating increases, with implications for future assessment design. If teachers and test designers know how the AI “cheats,” they may be more adept at spotting or sidestepping it.
European Conference on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism 2021
The European Conference on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism 2021 is going on now. Friday is the final day.
I have not had the chance to get into it yet. As I do, I’ll share significant or interesting findings here. In the mean time, conference organizers have published a convenient, 193 page “Book of Abstracts.”
In the next “The Cheat Sheet” - Fordham Deans “clarify” cheating incidents at their business school. Plus, New Zealand medical school students faked documents to meet graduation requirements. Plus, more on that Course Hero “summit” with academics.
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