I’ll admit, I’ve never really understood the utility of cheating on a test. Even if you don’t get caught, what have you really gained from getting a couple of extra questions right? A third of a grade? A full grade? It just strikes me as ridiculously hypocritical. If you really care that much about your grades, isn’t it better to just put in the work over the course of the semester? And if you don’t care about your grades, why do you suddenly lose your nerve at the very end?
In any event, I suppose the terrible economy is making a lot of people think creatively about what their transcript will look like when it comes time to find a job. It looks like a spate of cheating scandals has erupted among some New York law schools.
The Syracuse University College of Law is so worried about the problem that it is cracking down on people with weak bladder control:
Students can now use the rest room only once during an exam, which can last four hours, because some are suspected of using cell phones or looking at papers in the bathrooms. Students with medical reasons to use the rest room more often than once per exam must provide medical documentation to a dean.
“During this exam period, we have received a significant number of reports from (first-year) students alleging academic dishonesty,” read an e-mail sent by law school deans to first-year students.
Forty years I been asking permission to piss. I can’t squeeze a drop without say-so.
While Syracuse adopts the Depends Honor Code, Fordham hasn’t decided if it will do anything at all. Details after the jump.
Honest students at Fordham School of Law are furious at alleged cheating during this exam period. One student describes the situation like this:
I am a current [Fordham law student] and I am contacting you because of the widespread and pervasive cheating that appears to take place amongst a portion of the current 1L class. Specifically for my closed book [Redacted] exam this spring semester there were a number of students who left the class under the guise of a “bathroom break” to consult their outlines.
Furthermore there are a number of allegations that students brought outlines into the room and were copying from their notes into their bluebooks before the time began. Unfortunately school officials refuse to acknowledge a problem and have failed to implement an effective enforcement policy to minimize cheating.
Aren’t law school exams supposed to be “open book?” Law students aren’t exactly in high school anymore. Clients generally don’t need you to be able to quote statutes and regulations off the top of your head (bar examiners, that’s a different story).
A Fordham law professor directly addressed the open book issue in an open letter to the law school community:
I received a couple of anonymous emails reporting what may have been widespread cheating during the exam by students who were consulting outlines during bathroom breaks. I also received a report that some students obtained, or at least claimed to obtain, unreleased past exams. Both reporters suggested that an open book exam would help even the playing field between those who follow the rules and cheaters. Since we have this anonymous forum, I am appealing to all of you to comment on these reports so I can figure out what to do to avoid these problems in the future. I am particularly interested in any first hand reports of what happened and whether you think the closed book rubric is responsible. I posted a new forum called “Exam Feeback” for this purpose.
Isn’t open book always the way to go in law school?
Syracuse University law school cracks down on suspected cheaters [Syracuse.com]