Are there any schools where it is cheating for a student to possess a teacher's edition?

For the purposes of this question, the term “cheating” has the same meaning as “academic dishonesty” and other substantially similar terms used in academia.

Are there any educational institutions where it is per se cheating for a student (e.g. Undergraduate or before, beyond that, this question becomes somewhat moot due to the nature of grad school) to possess or use a teacher’s edition of the class’s textbook? That is, you could get in trouble for simply possessing the book or using it to verify your homework where there are no specific rules about the conditions under which homework must be done and/or homework is not graded.

Note, I’m not talking about using a teacher’s edition as an instrumentality of an act that already constitutes cheating such as plagiarizing from the book without attribution or using pages from the teacher’s edition as crib notes during an exam, nor am I talking about possessing a teacher’s edition that the student knows, our should have known, was stolen from the school or instructor, but rather simply possessing or using it as a private study aid.

Anecdata, as I am not a teacher and no longer a student: When I was in primary and secondary school in Montreal, most of our math textbooks had the answers at the end of the book. I’m sure some people ‘cheated’ on their homework by simply copying them out, but if you had to show your work you’d be screwed so there was no real point.

I’m pretty sure that the more advanced the class, the more work required, and thus the possession of an answer key becomes more of a faux pas, if not out and out forbidden.

I remember glancing over a couple of times at some of the teacher’s edition textbooks… Most often because the teacher had it open on her desk while she was doing something else.

I didn’t read most of it, nor took it, but I remember many of them had extra boxes and sidenotes and comments than present in my textbook. They also showed the answer in some problems… But I always thought they had more advice on how to teach the topic presented than just the answers of some problems (if the textbook had them).

Like Daerlyn, I’ve also had textbooks with the answers in the back… But in a class where you have to hand in the work, complete with the formula and process you used, just jotting down a number won’t do. It was more helpful to me when I was stuck or unsure if I had gotten the right answer. I could either get confirmation or backtrack the answer.

If your essay is “Answers will vary”, they’ll figure it out. :slight_smile:


In my academic experience I’m not aware of any rules that specifically forbid students from using instructor’s manuals in their studies. From a practical standpoint I don’t see how such rules can really be enforced anyway, especially if a student uses such materials outside of the classroom.

I knew a kid in high school who actually tried contacting the textbook company and buying the teacher’s editions. But I think they told him you had to be a school administrator to buy those (that and they probably figured he sounded young enough to enough to be a student).

On The Simpsons once, Bart locked away all of the teacher’s editions and the edumacational process ground to a halt as the panicked faculty realized they didn’t have all the answers anymore!

You can buy them from used booksellers on Amazon for usually less than half of what you would pay for the regular edition. I’ve bought a bunch of them, and never had an instructor quibble about it. The only issue I’ve ever encountered is other students pestering me to see the answer key if they know I have it. However (and this is a BIG however), for God’s sake don’t use the teacher’s edition if your instructor wrote the textbook—they will (or at least should) get notably pissed. Teacher’s editions are analogous to promo albums in the record industry. When a band cuts an album, a certain percentage of the albums which are pressed are designated as promo albums and are distributed free of charge to various parties as a form of advertisement. The cost of pressing these promos is deducted from the artists’ royalties. The same holds true with textbooks. Teacher’s editions are distributed free of charge by sales reps to educational faculty and administration as a form of promotion. If the publisher overpresses, the publisher will unload the excess books for pennies on the dollar to what’s called a rack jobber, who in turn sells them to any interested party. That’s how they wind up on Amazon so cheap. But the author never sees a penny in royalties from the sale of teacher’s edition overstock. So if he or she spots you with a teacher’s edition of a book that they authored, they’re going to feel that you’ve cheated them out of their royalties on that book.

I’d be glad if my students brought in any textbook at all.

I actually saw some teacher’s books that actually explained how to work the problem in the back of the book. Most of the problems you could just copy everything down in the right format, and it would work.

As for my student books–most would only have the odds or evens. My last year of school, I used that to my advantage to get half credit on homework I didn’t think was being graded.

I think it would be difficult to implement such a policy campus-wide. Granted, I’m thinking about my own institution, which has 30,000 students and several colleges, but the way higher education works is that each college kind of gets to make its own rules. Some colleges would argue that letting students use the teacher’s edition in a limited way as a pedagogical tool is perfectly fine, while others would insist that it was a form of cheating.

Our local publishers will usually only provide teachers’ editions of their publications to actual teachers. They won’t supply those books to stores nor to non-teachers.

Ok, American school textbooks seem to be very different to what I am used to. All my Maths textbooks had the answer at the back, the only thing it was useful for was to check if the answer we had was rigtht which meant that the process we had used was right as well. Physics textbooks had usually had answers too, MCQs and the numericals for certain, and often other types of questions as well. Teachers editions from the ones I have read, had the answers in them, but most of the book seemed concerned in giving advice on how to teach the topic, something whcih won’t be of much use to a student wishing to cheat.

Where are you, that teacher’s edition means simply free copies??? I thought the question of the OP referred to editions with answer keys and solutions, or maybe additional infos to teach, not free copies?

In Germany, some text books for high school - English and math come to mind - had a seperate answer key, sold only to teachers. Not because the teachers couldn’t solve the problem on their own :smiley: but because grading 30 homeworks was easier if you didn’t have to calculate the right answer each time. If the final result was as given in the key, mark correct and move on, if the final answer is wrong, look where the pupil made the mistake.

A few times during my high school, I got hold of older editions, and esp. with math, that was good for checking if I was right, but not useful instead of doing all the work. I think in upper classes, the answer was at the back of the school text book itself, so we could officially self-check.

The only time it was useful for cheating was the German-to-English translation :slight_smile:

It never came up what my teachers thought of this, or how they would have reacted if they found out.

The other way of cheating in language class that was favourite across the board were the Reclam editions in latin class: cheap but very literal translations of the classics, printed very small on thin paper with paperback binding, size of a postcard, so it could be easily hidden under the text book. However, it still didn’t help much if you had to translate out loud the sentence in class: once again, you had to show your work (identify the verb, identify the noun in the nominative it refers to, identifiy the accusative noun, identifiy the rest, put everything together).

The other teacher editions I now see at work have additonal background information for the teacher, pedagogic suggestion and so on. Some textbooks have a seperatly available worksheet book the teacher can use to copy from. I’ve heard that the publishers who sell both the school books and the teachers editions with answers are regulated strictly and in turn impose strict regulations that only teachers can get the answer keys - our pedagogic library which has the teacher editions strictly regulates who can view them.

However, I’m confused as to what this has to do with college?? Do you really have homework from text books, and teachers editions with answers? Your college level is really low then.

Why is that in the teachers edition and not in the text book itself? Shouldn’t the way to solve the problem be explained in the textbook, so students can figure it out even if their teacher didn’t explain it well enough (or if they are self-studying)?

What do you mean with odds and evens?

Same here, and the student-published books (1) we used in college would sometimes have solutions, with full and detailed explanations. One of our teachers even gave us photocopies of an out-of-print exercises book (with detailed explanations), explaining that since the book was the best ever published on the subject, there was a three-way argument between publishing houses over ownership of the copyright, and that argument made legal copies of the book impossible to obtain, he felt well within his rights to give us the copies. It’s been almost twenty years and the suits between those three publishers are still going on.

1: the sources were a mixture of

  • classnotes from previous students
  • teacher-written notes
  • exercise compilations, usually from exercises the teacher had presented in class and from his exams
  • exercises prepared by the teacher specifically for student publication
    constanze: yes, there is often homework taken from the book. In the Organic Chemistry lab I TA’d every student pair in the class did the same exact synthesis at the same time; they’d had a whole week to read it up in the book; they had to bring up 2-3 exercises in writing, and we had a quiz (2-4 questions) at the start of the lab period, with answers taken from the book. The last time I’d had anything similar as a student was in 6th grade math.

The way to solve the problems given in the book is explained in the textbook, but the detailed workout of each “homework problems set” is not.

Actually, most undergrad classes that I took had some assigned homework from the textbook itself, although only a small percentage of the classes actually included performance on homework as part of your grade.

I do actually remember hearing a few years ago that there was one Computer Science faculty in the USA that passed or was trying to pass a policy that made it an academic misconduct offense to use any resource except the instructor, the TA, or the official textbook due to rampant plagiarism. The concern was that students would copy software code from alternate textbooks (of which there are many) and pass that off as their version of quicksort or what have you.

I presume that this was for basic undergrad courses and wouldn’t apply to research-oriented courses.