Archive | October 18, 2011

Day 28: Cheating(?)


Today was Quiz Day again. I use Standards-Based Grading. Students may initiate their own assessments to show me they have mastered concepts they missed on an in class quiz. There is no limit to how many times they can reassess, though for my sanity I limit reassessments to certain days with no more than 3 concepts per reassessment. With this kind of low-stress system, there is no incentive to cheat.

I also give students the opportunity to check their work and give themselves feedback using orange pens as soon as they complete a quiz. I feel that kind of immediate feedback is more helpful than waiting for me to grade and hand back quizzes. They also get to see my worked out examples as exemplary work (something they didn’t see when I graded quizzes).

It’s a win-win situation, right? Students can learn at their own pace, they get immediate and meaningful feedback, and my grading load is a bit easier when students have already given themselves the feedback they need. But then I saw the quiz pictured above. While I didn’t actually witness any cheating (I was helping some students at other answers stations with questions and talking about capstone projects with other students), I have a sinking feeling the work displayed wasn’t honest. Particularly the work for the problem on the second page:

xstart + 40 m = 10 m
xstart = -30 m

The xstart notation is something I’ve never used in class before. We’ve been relying on reasoning, rather than formal equations, so they wouldn’t understand traditional notation like xi and x0. Add to that the scratched out work on the front, and the similar wording/phrasing in the answers, I know beyond a reasonable doubt that this student made a poor choice.

But why? The stakes are low. Reassessment opportunities abound. My guess is that this is a case of laziness-induced cheating.

Since I didn’t see the student copying off the key in black pen, I have little recourse for disciplinary action. (Trust me, I’ve tried. In my district, teacher hunches don’t go very far without hard evidence.)

So now what?