06
Jul

How to prevent cheating in a 300 student exam…

Finals Scam: Revenge of the Profs. – from my Archive with thanks to Mike Lutz

The Finals Week item, with 50 things to do during a final you know you will flunk, inspires me to pass along this true story from RIT. Acknowledgements are due my colleague Ken Reek, and former graduate student Ed Ford, who together pulled the scam off with aplomb.

Several years ago, Ken was assigned two sections of a large service course taken primarily by business students. The final exam was multiple choice, and had a well-deserved reputation for being easy to cheat on (one proctor, 250-300 students). Ken was determined to plug this hole, at least for one term.

One nice thing about such a large class is that no student knows everyone else who is enrolled. Using this, Ken asked Ed to attend the final and pretend to take it like everyone else. Ken also told Ed to be as blatent as possible about cheating.

At the start of the exam, Ken announced that anyone caught cheating off another students paper would have his or her exam confiscated and would fail the course. As the exam progressed, Ed was peering all around, while Ken periodically called out eyes on your own paper. After about three such warnings, Ken bounded up the stairs, crossed to Eds seat, grabbed the exam, tore it to shreds, and shouted Youre outta here!

According to Ken, Eds facial expression was a perfect combination of shock and terror.

For the rest of the exam, the room resembled a monastery where monks were carefully and studiously working on sacred scrolls.

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