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Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Pants on fire

Like me, you may have missed the recent online video seminar about how to create a culture of academic integrity by cracking down on cheating.

This suggested four ways for teachers and principals to deal with people found cheating in the examination room – (a) tell the person to keep their eyes on their own paper, (b) ask the person to turn in his or her paper, (c) note the point that the cheat has reached in the exam and then ask several students to exchange seats, or (d) just ignore it.

The correct answer, apparently, is (c), although at our school there was a fifth way of dealing with cheating – (e) hook the wretched person out of the room by his ear, take him to the headmaster, and then thrash him to within an inch of his life with the cane.

There tended to be very few repeat offenders, although one boy in our class was suspended for twice bringing half a lemon into the examination room and squirting it onto a piece of paper on which he had written the model answers in what he fondly believed to be ‘invisible ink’.

Of course in our day we didn’t have online video seminars, so teachers couldn’t weigh the merits of making “student-to-student orientations”, couldn’t ask students to “distribute the honour code at a mandatory orientation”, and couldn’t help to “leverage unique insights” and “build momentum for change”.

The only good thing about this sort of language is that it discourages cheating, because nobody in their right mind would dream of copying it.


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