200 cheating students - Macleans.ca

200 cheating students

University of Central Florida students to take ethics seminar or flunk


The detective work of a university professor has uncovered the largest cheating scandal in the history of the University of Central Florida. Professor Richard Quinn discovered that 200 students–one third of his business course–cheated on a midterm, managing to secure the answers ahead of time. Professor Quinn says that he knows who all the cheaters are, and is urging students to come forward and confess (and take an ethics seminar) or possibly face expulsion. According to the video on ABC News, many of the students are seniors with only a month of school left. About 75 per cent of the students who cheated on the midterm have come forward so far. Whether they cheated or not, all 600 students will have to re-take the midterm.

Filed under:

200 cheating students

  1. There are some suggestions from the students that the professor did not write his own exam, and instead copied the questions directly from testbanks supplied by the textbook publisher.

    If resources, such as sample tests, are given to students directly/indirectly through the required textbooks, then I do not see how that would constitute cheating.

    It will be interesting to see how the student body and the faculty handle this issue.

  2. joshb: Sounds like you are defending the actions of the students based on incomplete information. Unless you have inside information, which might be why they are in hot water in the first place, I’d wait before issuing a verdict.

  3. I understood the whole basis of the justice system was to assume innocent until proven guilty, so incomplete information is in itself grounds to defend them. The fact that several students did better than expected means nothing – does this include the ones who worked hard? A random ‘statistical analysis’ sounds iffy to me. What’s the point of tests if you have to get the same mark in all of them for them be considered valid? If it is the case that the the lecturer is lazy and gave them a test from a textbook, it’s his fault. If he threatened them with expulsion and was irrational about it, and I were an honest student worried I had a very realistic chance of being unjustly expelled, I might also feel compelled to ‘confess’. Given that he expects them ALL to rewrite, he is clearly one of those bullying teachers with no sense of fairness- the ones who use the word ‘cheeky’ a lot, can’t stand having mistakes pointed out, and excuse their abuse of power by arrogantly saying ‘life is unfair’ – we’ve all had them, haven’t we? Nevertheless, with multiple choice questions, and in a field that is professional and not academic, students may not exactly put a love of the subject before success in it. We’ll probably never know the full details.

  4. Well, this one is kinda hard to defend when you have the professor saying 200 cheated. 10, 15, even 20 I can possibly say that they studied within smaller groups and possibly shared the same information but 200?? I don’t know about that. Those that know they cheated should come forward but there could be some casualties who received the information but was unaware that they were cheating by receiving this information.

  5. I find this comment above most disturbing:
    A random ‘statistical analysis’ sounds iffy to me.

    It highlights the sad fact that innumeracy is the most dangerous trend in our society. Statistical analysis is not like ‘intelligent design’ — it is a valid field of study and its methods and results are scientific. In fact, quite a few of the results from classes in a business education are provided from statistical analysis. Econometrics would be impossible without it, for example. Marketing would be limping along in a backwards 19th century style were it not for statistical analysis.

    Perhaps more to the point — I have no idea why there is a possibility of parole for those who are unwilling to admit their complicity within 24 hours. Expel the remainder and schedule all of their appeals for a single group hearing in order to save time and money.

  6. What a sad state of affairs that we have students justifying cheating because of how easy it was to cheat? It doesn’t matter if the test questions and answers are dropped into your lap, if you use them YOU ARE CHEATING. You bunch of immature self-righteous noobs belong in school a few more years until you realize you are there to learn the material, not just find a way to pass a test. If you aren’t qualified to pass a class, be it ethically or intellectually, you shouldn’t pass. It’s not as though the degree is yours to lose and should only be kept from you if fail to be penalized enough to lose it. A degree is supposed to imply a level of expertise, not your ability to work the system.

  7. A) If this professor is disturbed by 200 students cheating, then he probably did not pull all the questions straight out of the textbook.

    B) Konstantin Kyriakopoulos, the way professors know you are cheating is not that you achieved this higher mark than usual, it is that you had the EXACT same answers as someone else, or what was written on the answer key (perhaps with the wording a bit changed). If 200 students had the same points of discussion on their exams as everyone else, would you not get suspicious? It has nothing to do with getting a better grade. It has everything to do with the same answers.

    C) I think this professor is being more than fair in allowing the students who cheated to come forward. I also agree with his decision to make the whole class re-write. Those students who do not come forward were apparently given too many chances if they do not accept his generosity.

  8. Business students eh?

    I think an anonymous tipoff and half of the suspected cheaters already confessing confirms something. That student’s view that everyone cheats at life in general is unfortunate, and I’m sure he’s not the only one who holds that depraved perspective. What a culture.

  9. Something I find very interesting but no one has commented on yet is the fact that not one student alerted the professor that his test answers were being distributed illegally. Considering how viral information can become, I’m surprised the number was only 200. Here’s what I find interesting: Out of 600 students, 200 supposedly cheated… Not one of the 200 had second thoughts or a pang of guilt? Not one of the remaining 400 knew about the cheating but said or did nothing? I find that remarkable, and it should be a wake up call to us all. Why not make an ethics class a manditory course or include it as part of a freshman or transfer orientation? Sign a code of conduct contract and hold all students accountable?

    Does the punishment fit the crime? Hard to say. Should 400 honest students have to retake the exam along with the cheaters? Should the cheaters get full credit after a 2nd chance? It should remind us all that doing the right thing is not always an easy thing to do.

    Chasing the finish line and forgetting why we are all on the journey is part of the problem. That GPA is all some students think about and they will do anything in their power to get that 4.0. They forget why they are getting an education, and think that little piece of paper and tassle will garner them success. In the real world, cheating and dishonesty like this may work once in a while, but if caught, I’m betting on a pink slip instead of a 2nd chance…. Always take the high ground. The view is much better.

  10. Maureen, in the linked article we’re told that the professor’s suspicions were confirmed by an anonymous tipoff, so at least one person had a pang of guilt… Otherwise, I agree with what you write.

    Sometimes I’m cynical though, when I hear news stories of corrupt business practices fairly regularly. Tales of CEO’s of failing companies getting bailed out by the government yet still giving themselves ridiculous bonuses, seems to say that unethical behavior CAN pay off.

    But really our society is what we make of it, and I personally wouldn’t want to live in a society where these sorts of things are acceptable.

  11. Where could these kids be getting the idea that cheaters prosper? The US business and political environment shows very clearly that only the straight arrow hits the bulls-eye and slow and steady wins the race.

  12. Social science and economic research studies show that the economic prosperity and social advancement ntry are directly correlated to the moral values and conduct of the population.

    If we want to remain a prosperous nation, it is important to denounce cheaters and opportunists who don’t respect the moral values that constitute the basis of the Western civilization.

    Professor Richard Quinn did the right thing. I hope more professors will follow his path. Joshb and Konstantin: you sound like criminal lawyers and you have no credibility.

  13. If the professor has proof, the students should simply flunk the course. Obviously, if they haven’t absorbed enough ethics to not cheat by their senior year, a single ethics course isn’t going to help. I think we see in this group the executives of future WorldComs, Enrons, and the future board of Chase.

  14. Laura, I implore you to produce those studies you mentioned. And while you’re busy searching for those it’d be nice if you could name the “morals that form the basis of Western Civilization”. As for accusing others of having no credibility based on a single post, I would say that is a rather hasty conclusion. That being said, despite your use of mutlisyllabic words (which I found rather cute), from your writing I believe you to be a sheep. As for the criminal lawyer thing I totally understand, as criminal lawyers sometimes produce coherent arguements. Generally I would not take time out of my day to troll, but alas, your words truly inspired me. Have a nice day ;)

  15. In his first lecture he clearly states that he writes his own tests, which would lead any student to believe those questions were more of a study guide or end of chapter questions at most. Only after the revelation of this incident did the professor correct himself and say he used the publisher’s test bank. I find it hard to believe that students would voluntarily cheat with 2 months left in their academic career unless they thought this document was both legal and ethically acquired. Not only is the University of Central Florida’s reputation besmirched, but the reputation of any business student graduating this semester is smeared as well.