cheating to collaboration
A few students in my communication class made the exact same errors on a listening test while others got items correct but made similar spelling errors. My first reaction was to be upset that they were cheating and upset with myself being unable to catch them. However, after thinking about it for a time, I decided to go along with what they were doing by allowing them to collaborate on the test today.
I told the classes (a morning and an afternoon class) about the amazing similarities in errors. Heads went down, and there were a few embarrassed smiles. Then I told them that I would like them to write on their papers whose help they got by looking at the paper or asking (unfortunately in the afternoon class, I wasn’t so specific about the looking on). I also told the students I would give a student a 0 on the test if I thought they got help but did not write down the person’s name they got help from.
The results were that the morning class not only wrote their names down, but some wrote their names beside the items where they got help. The afternoon class was less forthcoming about getting help and seemed to think I was trying to trick them despite my assurances that I would consider this collaboration.
Am I caving into cheating? I suppose I am. Will it matter in the long run? I don’t know. I am not getting as much information about students with problems, but in another way I am since those with problems are relying on help. Also, they don’t seem to collaborate on many items of the test. I will continue to experiment with this.
Since I don’t want them cheating/collaborating on the final exam, I have decided the final will be given in shifts so that cheating will be more difficult. I will split the class and give the test to one half then repeat the test for the second half.