Exam sting nabs cheaters; students claim entrapment.

To be quite honest, it wasn’t my fault - it all seemed to fit - the first question was “What Swedish pop quartet took the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest by storm with their song ‘Waterloo’” - after that, I just assumed that D, C, B, A, C were the right answers to the following questions.

I’ll agree with you on that one. I have a real hard time imagining professors who give out the answers first. On the other hand, perhaps it is their way of implicitly treating students like honorable adults.

BTW, Mange I don’t get the joke.

Aren’t cell phones banned in exam rooms?

If the students didn’t have cell phones, there wouldn’t be this problem.

How does a sting operation fit into the concept of an “honor code”?

Even when I was in High School and didn’t have the technological advantages that kids have today, no one had any illusions that the grade, not learning, was the goal. Grades=future $. It’s just that now, smart, ambitious kids are being ingenious at utilizing computers etc to achieve the grade. Learning, if any, is a pleasant by product of that quest. I remember when research meant hours in the musty library stacks. Google Search, cut-n-paste, and print. If only there were a way to teach a thirst and passion for learning, but I think that must come from the heart as much as the mind.

Back when my older sons were in high school, they asked me to give out some questions, so they could study for a test. I would mix up the answers and make them choose the right answer. They wanted only to tell me that the answer was strictly a letter, like “B”. They had prior tests and the teacher(s) were known not to change the tests. I would not cooperate, so they stopped asking me to help them study.

Posting the answers was a bad idea, but what the students did was pure unadulterated cheating.

Naw, not unless the particular professor is anal over it. They usually ask that cell phones be turned off so they won’t ring in the middle of class, but that’s about it.

It seems to me that receiving answers from a friend by cell-phone is cheating, regardless of where that friend got the answers. I hate that these students aren’t accepting the blame – it’s not their fault that they were receiving answers from a friend, it’s the professor’s fault? This society has hit the point where no one takes responsibility for their actions, and it’s appalling.

I would say that expulsion is too good for them. Throw them in jail. The school (and/or the professor) are now going to have to pay an enormous amount in lawyer’s fees to defend against this absurd charge.

It also seems to me that posting answers before the exam is over is stupid.

Not only did I get the joke, I just sat here for several minutes applauding in front of my computer.

Excellently done!

The situation in the OP is not entrapment – it’s just the 21st century version of the teacher who knows that students are stealing the exam key, and puts a phony one in the file cabinet.

The students should received the punishment for cheating – expulsion is probably appropriate.

I’m sorry. I don’t see how this is entrapment. It wasn’t a simple thing like leaving half-erased answers on a blackboard, it was a multi-step process. To pull it off, a student has to know the website the professor posts the answers to, have a cell phone, and have at least one friend who has access to a computer during the exam, has access to a cell phone, is willing to help the student cheat, is reasonably trust worthy, and willing to risk the consequences of being busted for little or no benefit. If I tried this today, I can see several glitches:

  1. I probably wouldn’t have/be able to afford a cell phone.
  2. Neither would my best friend, the only person I’d trust enough to do this.
  3. Even if she did, the class schedule she took in college was every bit as heavy as mine, so she probably would have been in class at the same time.
  4. If I asked her to do it, she’d refuse on ethical grounds and ask me if I was out of my gourd.

Not only did the students behave unethically, they got someone else to act unethically as well. This required several, deliberate conscious actions. They now have to suffer the result of those actions. If it’s not what they anticipated, well, where I come from, that’s called a learning experience. Presumably they’ll learn that more thoroughly than they learned the test material.


It’s cheating, expel the little shits.
I agree that it doesn’t seem smart to post answers before a test is completed but these little brats knew they were cheating, and they knew the penalty for it if they got caught.

Cheating in college has gotten so prevalent that many students seem to feel that they are entitled to cheat. I felt like a freak at my college for being someone who actually wrote my own papers without ever once stealing anything from the internet. For many other students “homework” meant googling an appropriate essay and then printing it out and handing it in. Most never even bothered to read what they handed in.

I was a writing tutor at the time, and occasionally I got handed a student who was being given a second chance to write a paper after being busted for plagarism by an instructor. I could read two lines of their first rough drafts and immediately know that some of these guys had never written their own papers before. Some of them were, basically only semi-literate. They had no grasp at all of basic grammar, spelling, structure or narrative.

One guy was a scholarship athlete (a nice guy actually) who told me that in high school his coach had always just “taken care” of his grades (…if i was doing bad in a class, the coach would talk to my teacher and then I would start doing good…"). Now this poor guy was completely unprepared for college and was having a tough time making grades (which he needed. He was not going to get drafted, he needed his degree). I give this guy credit, though he came to me first rather than trying to cheat. He sincerely wanted to learn his own course material. I can’t say the same for some of his teammates. Many of those guys seemed to have the idea that a tutor was there to do their work for them (Dude, I need five pages on The Scarlet Letter by tuesday, I’ll give you fifty bucks) and they would get pissed and offended when I refused to write their papers for them. One guy even said he was going to tell “coach” on me. This was the extent of the entitlement these guys felt.

BTW, the legal definition of entrapment applies only to law enforcement. College profs can entrap all they want. It’s perfectly legal.

I was under the understanding that the answers were not posted before the test was given, but after the test was handed out. The test is not available until after they are all supposed to be seated and taking the test, so there is no way someone could be exposed to the opportunity to cheat who wasn’t already trying. It even makes sense for the professor to do so - he hands out the test, has an hour or so of free time before he has to pick up the tests, so he goes and posts the answers so he can give the URL to the students after he collects the tests.

In high school I had a teacher who gave us a test that consisted of listing every preposition (I think it was prepositions, there were 30 or so of them). The teacher left the classroom and during that time I copied all of them onto the chalkboard from my book. She came back in, did not notice the writing on the board, and started the test, probably astounded when every one of her students got a perfect grade.

When I was in college (which was way back in the days of stone tools and bear skins), our professors would frequently hand out a copy of the answers when you turned in your exam. The reason was to help those of us who were curious to find out what the correct answers were and how we’d done. It was just a nice thing for students. If we’d had cell phones with text messaging, we could have done someting similar–but we didn’t have that technology way back in the stone tools and bear skins days!

We also had an honor code, and it wasn’t uncommon to be given take home exams where you had to keep yourself to the alloted time and not avail yourself of any outside assistance or look up answers in text books, etc. I do remember one take home exam where I was one answer away from finishing, and I realized I had only one minute left in the alloted time. It was very tempting to go a few minutes over! I didn’t though. The consequences of viotating the honor code were quite severe (expulsion). Looking back, there was very little chance that I could have been caught for going five minutes or so over the alloted time, but I didn’t want to live with the knowlege that I’d violated a code that was so important to us and our school.

However, I had an overall good academic record, and I wasn’t in any danger of failing the class should I fail to answer this one question. Also, I don’t recall the same pressure to get great grades in order to get a job and have a good future that many students seem to have today. Certainly grades mattered, but there does seem to be a lot more importance placed on them today (e.g. having a “B” average may have made it difficult to get into some of the top graduate schools–but they didn’t make it difficult to find a job after graduation).

I’d like to think I wouldn’t have cheated even if I’d had those grade pressures of today. I think I wouldn’t, but I guess I’ll never really know since I wasn’t in that situation.

I still think the cheaters deserve what they get. Mostly, I’m amazed that they would trust their friends so much to give them the correct answers. If you’re blindly taking answers from your text messaging and not even looking to see if the answers are reasonable, you’d better hope your friends are pretty darn honest–which is doubtful since they’re in the process of helping you cheat!

Well I couldnt help but notice that it was 12 out of 800 in an introductory class. That makes me feel a little better. Cheating is wrong. Not only is it morally wrong, IMO, it does nothing to better your education. If you have to cheat in an intro class like that, you better pack up your bags and head home to mom, cause you wont be able to handle much past that. Maybe you can cheat your way through college, and life, but the more you do it, the greater chance you have of being exposed.

One time, as a grad student, I had the onerous duty of preparing a professor’s final–it involved completely different versions (different orders of the same questions) of the final, and I had to collate them, and then interleave them so that they’d be handed out in an exact pattern. And that while two toddlers were hanging on me, but that’s beside the point. The tests were marked on those optical reader sheets that you fill in the circles with no. 2 pencil. He found at least half a dozen students who did just that–he could even tell whose test they’d copied from. One of them was one of his favorite students, she’d even given him a thank you card for the semester, after the test. Tore him up.

… you stuck a flute up your… never mind! :wink:

It was mentioned, but I’ll ask Emilio - the answers were posted outside the door after the test had begun, correct? So that students could see if they got the answers right as they left the room after they were finished, yes? It would seem a little odd to put the answers to the test on the door as the students came in to take that very test.


And I say, “Thank you for the humor…”

My professors would occasionally post the answers on their office door, and maybe did so before leaving to go to the lecture hall and hand out the exam. Professors might think this was pretty safe, as in large lecture classes there was usually a door-check of our student IDs which for all practical purposes required showing up 10 minutes early for class. So he could safely post the answers on his office door right before he left to oversee the exam, and the students wouldn’t see them until afterwards when they went over to the building where that department had offices. This could be what was going on, and the students had arranged for some other people to camp out by the office door and text-message the answers while the test was going on. At least, that’s what I’d have to presume was going on here for this to make any sense.

Oh, just to clarify, that door-check for large lecture classes was only before exams, to insure nobody took the exam “for” anybody else. Of course that didn’t happen other than during exams. Didn’t want anyone to think we’re security freaks here at Mizzou :wink:

(Now the state troopers gathered around the student entrance at football games, that’s another story altogether…)