Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Cheating at Duke's Business School

It is certainly disheartening that students who have made it through college and gone on to business school would be caught cheating on a test. However, I think that there is something fishy about this story. It was a take home exam, and I would think that a professor would have to give explicit instructions about how much collaboration was permitted rather than simply rely upon the school's honor code for that. Duke has not identified the professor or the students. According to Associated Press writer Martha Waggoner, the students were allowed to finish classes and will be taking their final exams this week.

As I just commented in response to the story posted at the Chronicle of Higher Education blog, I always assume that there is going to be some collaboration when I give a take home examination. I try to ask questions where students are challenged and graded for individual thinking. By giving points for originality and strong argument, I typically consign those who choose to cheat or "collaborate" to the middle or bottom of the pile gradewise. Duke is to be commended, however, for having such a strong mechanism available to faculty to redress student cheating. In my experience, the grievance boards which make these decisions usually include student representatives. CNN notes that the Duke business school students have until May 17 to appeal their board's decisions.

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