Take Home Tests Reward Cheaters and Penalize the Honest StudentsPosted by Paul Apple on Nov 23, 2007 in Education | Comments Off on Take Home Tests Reward Cheaters and Penalize the Honest Students
My daughter has recently reported an alarming trend at her community college courses (for her high school homeschooling curriculum). As teachers assign more and more take home tests, the majority of the students think nothing of breaking the rules, collaborating, sharing answers, etc. Different tests have different rules associated — it might be open-book or closed-book; it might have to be completed within a certain timeframe; etc. We used to have an Honor Code in college where the professor did not monitor the classroom where all of the students were taking the test. It was the obligation of each student to report if they witnessed any cheating activity. Now with take home tests the opportunity to improve one’s grade becomes a very difficult temptation to resist.
I am not sure what the motivation of the teacher is for this switch in test taking practice. Maybe the teachers are rewarded on the basis of their students scoring higher on tests and actually are not as concerned with dishonest tactics as I might imagine. Maybe the teachers look on this exercise as more of a learning experience than an evaluation of a student’s knowledge and ability in the subject matter. But what type of behavior are we encouraging and rewarding? In a society where moral standards are degrading, you would think that teachers would want to raise the bar rather than lower it.