How are changed college grades discovered?

I was thinking back to the past, and i recalled some scandals of local universities, way back when, where some grades had been changed for money. My question is: How were they discovered? I can imagine that an erasure/whiteout would be discovered, and I know a lot of mainframe stuff has IT ways to discover entries into the system, but, would that kind of stuff be able to tell what an original grade was? I would think that somebody would have to tip off somebody else, but how would they know the details?



Mod notified of wrong forum.


One of the urban legends at the University of Chicago regarding grade changing among undergrads (and seemingly applicable to the question at hand).
…yadda, yadda (only slight polishing of grades)… After the four perpetrators were “caught”, their punishment was thus: 1. grades that were changed were returned to true value 2. they weren’t allowed to walk during graduation 3. they would never learn how they were caught.
So it seems as if the administration doesn’t want you to know how they get caught.

Now I find the lack of Draconian punishment more than a little suspect, and I also heard this story with regard to the burial of a large Walt Whitman head (from the library) in the president’s backyard. This second scenario seems far more probable in my mind.

I don’t know of the specific instances you’re speaking of, but I can tell you a few ways I’d have found such things when I was teaching.

  1. My classes tended to be fairly small, and I knew which students were doing well and which ones weren’t. If a mediocre student suddenly had an A, there’s a good chance I’d notice it. If a student was pulling Ds or Fs, and I spotted a semester grade of C, I’d go back and check it out.

  2. I taught computer science in the 80s and had my own grade database. I built in traps.

  3. It seems to be very hard to resist the temptation to brag. Brag to the wrong person, and the staff finds out.

  4. When I was teaching at a college with an automated grading system in the 2000s, I would regularly run grade reports and save the data in spreadsheets (I used the spreadsheets to search for trends and problems). If my spreadsheet reported a B for someone, and the college’s system reported a D, I’d notice.

Granted, most of these wouldn’t apply to a freshman lecture class with 300 students, where the professor rarely even sees the kids and grad students do all the teaching.

Compare current files to old backups.

Oh, yeah? When I caught cheaters, they were given an F in the class and went on academic probation. One of them lost a scholarship for it.