Such a fascinating article. Share this with your colleagues-it’ll start a conversation. Here was one of my favorite parts:
Cheating and defenses of it appear to be rampant, even in the best schools in America. Harvard recently experienced its largest cheating scandal ever; half of the nearly 300 students in an Introduction to Congress class were suspected of cheating on a take-home final last year.
Students justified their collaboration on the exam, saying that any similarities in test responses were because they shared lecture notes and conferred with one another and the teaching assistants.
In this case, it’s the test’s design, rather than the students’ conduct, that we should criticize. In allowing students to consult a wide variety of sources, the Harvard exam was looking to assess something deeper than how well they could memorize and recall facts. Judging from some leaked questions, the test seemed to be designed to measure how students could think about some of the contradictions inherent in American government. (An essay question began, “Do interest groups make Congress more or less representative as an institution?”) But if you want to determine how well students think, why force them to think alone?
Harvard didn’t agree, forcing many of the students to withdraw from the university for a period of two to four terms. (Here is a good Harvard Crimson piece on the internal debate over the university’s actions )