Thursday, June 25, 2009

The changing methods and definitions of cheating

While I was off the grid last week, my former Dean Joseph Harbaugh sent me this interesting story from USA Today describing how high school students are using cellphones to cheat.

Here's an excerpt:

One-fourth of teens' cellphone text messages are sent during class, a new survey finds, despite widespread classroom bans on cellphones at school. The survey of 1,013 teens — 84% of whom have cellphones — also shows that a significant number have stored information on a cellphone to look at during a test or have texted friends about answers. More than half of all students say people at their school have done the same.

Law schools will be seeing those students beginning in about 5-6 years.  You can read the rest of the story here.

Apparently in response to this article, the Chronicle of Higher Ed has published some blog musings by one of its contributors suggesting that in light of the above data, academics may need to re-think their definition of "cheating." 

Don’t we see here a prime example not of the decay of personal integrity but instead the healthy spread of ‘participatory culture’?” [CHE's blogger] wrote. “In the digital age, intelligence is a collective thing, the individual now not a repository of knowledge but a dynamic component of it. We have entered a new realm, and if the definition of knowledge has changed, then so must the definition of cheating. Right?”

Check out the comments following this post.  This one is representative: 

Wrong!  Testing is a legitimate form of assessment. If you can just get the answers off a fellow student, how much do you really know? I hope my surgeon doesn’t have to interrupt my surgery to text a colleague to find out what he should have learned in medical school.

What do you think, America?  Please leave your comments below.

I am the scholarship dude.


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