Posted by: unlikelygrad | November 4, 2009

why cheating doesn’t pay

So, yesterday I got to confront a cheater along with the course prof. (OK, I admit, I let Dr. M do most of the talking, though I will try to reverse our roles next time, which unfortunately will be in less than a week…)

The student emphatically denied cheating until the prof came straight out and told him that his story made no sense. And then he admitted that, yes, he had cribbed it straight from his friend’s assignment. With the confession we no longer have to put him on trial, so to speak. But he does fail the course, per school policy.

The irony is that the report he copied was one of the worst I have ever read. For example, I might have given the conclusion a token 2 out of 25 points (because he actually bothered to write a conclusion), but that would have been generous. Extremely generous. In other words, had it been his own work, he would have failed anyway–but at least he wouldn’t have the black mark of dishonesty on his permanent academic record. It seemed dumb that he would take such a big risk over such a lousy report.

Needless to say, I spent a lot of time hashing through the whole experience last night. I’ve come to the conclusion that anyone who is foolish enough to cheat also doesn’t have enough good judgment to know what constitutes a good report. Likewise, anyone who’s got poor enough judgment to let a friend copy his paper probably isn’t clever enough to write a good paper in the first place.


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