[lit-ideas] Re: lit-ideas The Shadow Scholar

  • From: John Wager <jwager@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2010 14:25:46 -0600

Donal McEvoy wrote:
. . .John Wager, a man incapable of a dishonest thought, nevermind deed, feels 
those under his tutelage are less cheating than preceding generations, whereas 
I - a practiced cheat - think this cannot be so because the facilities for 
cheating have so much improved since my day, almost to the point where 
ingenuity and daring are no longer called for. Nowadays there is such a 
terrific amount of material simply waiting to be cut and pasted from the web. . 
. .
I resemble that remark! In fact, I have often -- make that almost always -- tried to cheat my students when they take a multiple choice quiz in one of my classes. (If the idea of a philosophy teacher giving multiple choice quizzes seems even more outrageous than the article on cheating, or the morality of the teacher cheating on a test, well, that's another message exchange.) I almost always tell the class before the quiz that I will sell them "all the correct answers to the multiple choice questions for a quarter." Someone usually bites. "All the correct answers are 'a.' 'b,' 'c,' 'd,' and 'e.'" I tell them. Only once has this been met with outrage from a student who demanded that I give the correct numbers of the questions that accompanied the answers. For another quarter, he got "The questions are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, . . . "

Why would you trust a cheater is the obvious lesson here. (Less obvious is that the teacher seems to be a cheater, and thus, untrustworthy, but nobody's ever called me on that, yet.)

I must say that in my experience mostly with introductory level students, anybody who I have actually observed and "caught" cheating has never made it through the whole class to get a grade; they give up before the end. So I usually tell students that if I see them cheat and do NOT call them on it, it's because I expect that they won't make it through the class anyway.

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