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Posts Tagged ‘cheat

Justin Tarte put more plainly and eloquently what I illustrate and say to some groups of future educators.

What I do as part of some workshops is get future faculty to experience and evaluate individual and group-based quizzes using multiple-choice questions. The individual quizzes are stressful and the norm of schools and higher education. The group-based quizzes are fun, challenging, enriching, and an eye-opener for future faculty.

What I say when we rise above the activity is: What the rest of the world calls collaboration or normal work, schools and universities call cheating. If we claim to be preparing students for work, why do we perpetuate this disconnect?

The norm outside much of schooling and higher education is to “cheat” in formal or informal teams by collaborating, accessing, and connecting. The common tool for doing this is the phone. This is the very same object whose presence is still frowned upon in classrooms.

So what is a change agent or future faculty to do? I recommend that they not try to take on the system by fighting individual-based quizzes and exams. Instead, they might consider how team-based quizzes might be used during tutorials, laboratory and studio sessions, and even lectures. These then become opportunities for students to get formative feedback and to learn by peer teaching.

My recommendation is a cheat code. In video games, a cheat code is applied to make a boss or challenge easier to deal with. Sometimes it unlocks new abilities. In pedagogical design, it allows an educator to change a system insidiously from within.

When students cheat on exams it's because our school system values grades more than students value learning. -- Neil deGrasse Tyson

I created this image quote several months ago from Neil deGrasse Tyson’s original tweet.

This week I stumbled upon this video about exam “techniques”.

Video source

There is so much value placed in exams that some students resort to cheating and some examiners resort to extremes.

If you are assessment literate, you might realise that paper-based exams are a practice inherited from the industrial age. They have become a mainstay because we have forgotten to question and critique them. One big question is WHY we still have them. One big critique is the narrow academic-only ability they measure.

Despite viable alternatives like performance assessment and e-portfolios, there are groups that keep fanning into the embers of exams, e.g., the TES crowdsourcing A-Level exam questions.

Recently, Manu Kapur wrote an excellent opinion piece on why we should not over-rely on exams as we know today.

I paraphrase his main points. Test and exams:

  • May measure what we know, but not what we can apply with that knowledge or to create new information.
  • Do not guarantee transfer. The acquisition of information does not guarantee conversion to knowledge, and this in turn does not guarantee usage in real contexts.
  • Prevent students from using resources they would otherwise use in the wider world, e.g., their mobile phones.
  • Limit problem-solving to minutes at a time, and do not encourage persistence or perseverance.
  • Mould students to think and act under test conditions. They do not encourage deep learning and mastery.
  • May not match the cognitive developmental stage of the learner.

Tests are not authentic, they encourage superficial learning, and they are not forgiving.

Tests are outdated and it is not surprising why some students opt to cheat. They have so much stacked against them cognitively, ethically, and holistically.

I am not suggesting that students cheat. I am saying we must start operating outside the the test and exam paradigm.

How? Kapur’s article briefly outlines the approaches involving policies, people, and practices. It is well worth the read. It is even better to take action.

Neil deGrasse Tyson might have lost some credibility for tweeting a false claim and facing this scientific backlash.

He is certainly as expert in astrophysics. But he should not have ventured into biology.

When students cheat on exams it’s because our school system values grades more than students value learning. -- Neil deGrasse Tyson

That said, he is still a smart man. His observation about why students cheat during exams is spot on.

I do not cheat with images and attribute this CC-licensed image for my image quote.


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