He used a false ID, under the student’s name. And everything probably would have passed quietly except for a surprise inspection, done by someone who knew the lecturer.
He even came with borrowed clothes from the student. Though I’m not sure what that was supposed to accomplish, since anyone knowing the student should have spotted immediately he’s not him, and anyone not knowing the student wouldn’t recognize the clothes anyway.
The student paid him 5,000 ILS to take the test for him.
It may look like good business (financially, I mean) considering there’s a good reason to suspect he took the test for other students as well. But actually it’s not at all a good business, since the amount of exams in a course per semester is very limited, and he obviously can only pretend to be one student at a time.
So I don’t get why he did that. It’s a huge breach of professional ethics, and immoral. It could have, probably will now, cost him his career. And the expected gains are not that high.
The course in question was a math course which is considered to be extremely difficult. According to people I know who took this Open University course, it’s considered one of the, if not the single, toughest courses in degrees like Computer Science or Math.
Which brings me to the point of this post. Something I heard from a student who took this course, who told it to me to help illustrate how hard the exams for this course are.
His lecturer for this course, the one who was responsible for helping the entire class study and understand the material, tried to take the exam once. Just to see how it will go.
And according to my friend this was a good lecturer, one who knew his stuff, and was an intelligent person.
He passed, with a decent grade. But far from a full score. Around 80% of the grade. Meaning that the one checking his test obviously decided he got about 20% of his answers wrong.
The way I see it, if people who are supposed to be the authority on the material, and the ones responsible for teaching it to others, can’t get full grades, then something is very rotten at the core.
Teachers and lecturers are not some amazing prodigies, sure. There is a lot they don’t know, and don’t understand. I had some who weren’t able to provide even the most basic information on anything that went even slightly beyond the course material. But they should know the course material. And if the lecturer is a good one, rather than an obviously lousy one, then it’s a given that they do know the course material.
Exams, by definition, are supposed to be a way to measure how well someone knows the material. Never mind that it’s impossible to really do, so all they can attempt is a rough proxy. And never mind that most students then study for the test, instead of studying the material, which in practice does turn out to be two different things. The test should still represent at some level the knowledge of the person taking it.
So if someone who is the university’s model of a person knowing the material can’t pass the test with full grades, and make substantial mistakes, what does that tell the students?
If you know everything perfectly you should get a perfect score. But that’s obviously not the case here.
Yes, paying someone to take a test for you is bad. Personally I think all cheating in tests is bad, and have avoided doing even the more mundane/common stuff that many students do. But this is because tests should be passed, or not, based on knowledge and merit.
When a university has a test which doesn’t grade based on what the proper criteria should be, though, they not only invite serious cheating, they partially justify it.
The most basic thing you claim against a person cheating is that they should have studied, and passed the test based on their knowledge. And people aren’t required to know everything, just well enough, this is why a passing grade isn’t a full score.
But when students know that knowing everything very well, even so well that they’d be at a level suitable to teach the material to other people, still won’t get them full grades, they also know that the passing grade isn’t. The well enough becomes near perfect, when perfect is just slightly higher than passing.
Students are placed in a position where they can either know perfectly, and still get low grades, or they can fail the course. No middle ground, of partially knowing the material and so getting a low grade, is possible. If you know enough for a low grade on a fair exam, you’d fail on this one.
If the test is not fair, there is a certain level of hypocrisy in expecting the students to act fair. Proper academical ethics should be exercised by both sides. Not just by the students and faculty, but also by the university’s administration and processes.---