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(Not) Cheating on Tests

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I'm taking a test tomorrow, and it's gotten me to thinking about the disclaimers that are found on tests. Here's one from an old exam in one of the courses I'm taking now:

Academic integrity is expected of all students at all times, whether in the presence or absence of members of the faculty.

Understanding this, I declare that I shall not give, use, or receive unauthorized aid in this examination. I have been warned that if I am caught cheating (either receiving or giving unauthorized aid) I will get a "Q" grade for this course, and a letter will be sent to the Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals (CASA) requesting that an academic dishonesty notation be placed on my transcript. Further action against me may also be taken.

After this, there's a spot for the student to sign, as if this was some sort of statement by the student.

Well, the first two sentences of this make sense, and I completely agree with them. What I don't like about this is that, the way that the statement is phrased, it seems like the reason that the primary reason for not cheating is that I'm worried about the consequences.

I don't think that that's the right reason for not cheating on tests. At least, it's not the reason why I don't cheat on tests or projects.

I'm not sure exactly why I don't cheat, apart from the fact that I think it's wrong. Oh, I understand that there's an important role for tests, in separating those who understands the material from those who do not (at least, that's the goal. They may have some problems.)

But, ultimately, I think it comes down to the fact that I believe that honorably failing is better than dishonorably cheating. (And I speak from experience about the failing thing, in a past go at college.) And that's why I think that implying that I'm not cheating because I'm afraid of getting caught is slightly insulting.

- Tom | permalink | changelog | Last updated: 2002-12-05 21:07

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