I am an instructor at an American university. A student of mine, Student H, claimed that he was very sick and had to miss the final exam. Based on my trusting students in general, I allowed Student H to take a make-up exam, which took place about 4 hours after the actual exam finished.
About two days later, soon after I submitted the final grades (student H got an A-), I received emails from a few students (in the same class and in other classes) accusing Student H of deliberately postponing the exam, and asking other students, who took the exam on time, about what was on the exam.
I am attaching the emails below (without revealing any names of the students). I know these students personally and I do not think they would conspire together to make up stories about this.
I responded to them asking them to approach students who were asked, or witnessed someone being asked, by Student H about the exam questions.
Nonetheless, please let me know if you think these emails below would already suffice to accuse Student H of academic dishonesty?
If no, what else do I need? Even if I cannot make a convincing case of academic dishonesty against Student H, should I at least request a change of his grade (to a much lower one)?
I feel many students are angry about Student H's behavior, so I must do something about this.
Thank you very much for helping.
Anyway, I just want to say something unfair that I've seen in my course. Professor, I couldn't understand you giving Student H makeup tests for several times; he wasn't sick. I kinda expected him going to take a make-up final, as he had done so far, and it really happened again on the final. He wasn't sick as far as many students saw him just a day before and also on the final, but intentionally making dry coughs while he was with us.
I really wanted you to notice him making lame excuses for getting make-up quizzes, the midterm, and the final, but you didn't. At least he had some conscience, he should not ask someone about the information for the midterm and the final, but he did. Unless he was that sick so that it was really hard to take the final, it wouldn't be a real problem. However, he always made excuses like being sick, and get information from students who already took to get better scores on tests. He didn't do such things to other professors, but he did in this course because he knows you were one of our considerate professors to us.
Many students were mad about it. I hope you deal with this problem well to resolve students' resentment.
Student H, our classmate, kept on making an excuse in order to take exams late. If he was really sick, I could have understood it, but he was not sick that much; it seems somehow manageable. I have three evidences that his excuses were deceitful, and I will explain to you by chronological order.
First of all, when Student H skipped the first midterm exam, it seemed like he postponed the exam on purpose. No matter whether he was really sick or not, he asked others what was on the midterm exam. He should not have asked those to other students, and this is totally unfair as well as he is being dishonest.
Second, Student H asked me to postpone the final exam together. I cannot deny the fact that both of us were sick, due to the flu, but it was still manageable for both of us -I was not even sure that he was really sick or acting like he is sick. Since I did not see any point of delaying the exam, I rejected his suggestion. Aside from this, he even told me the process of postponding his final exam. He told me that he did not receive any e-mail response from you, and he even told me that he tried his best not to meet you in the hallway of the 4th floor while doing the work-study program so that he can prove that he is genuinly sick, while not. At this point, he is being dishonest toward faculty members to postpone the exam.
Lastly, after postponding the exam, he asked other students about the exam questions, and took the exam. I personally believe asking exam questions to other students is also committing of an academic dishonesty.
To summarize, as seen in the delay of two major exams without any valid reasons, as well as asking exam questions, I believe it can be enough evidences to prove that Student H committed the academic dishonesty. Plus, I wish this issue stay between us -make me anonymous, please.
On December 19th, the day before the exam, Student H told me that he postponed the exam time. He told me that he intentionally postponed it not because of his sickness. What he intended was if he take the test late, other students who took early in the morning would tell Student H about the final. This is not my inference. This is what he told me directly. I hoped no one would tell him what questions they had in the final. However, unfortunately, I witnessed Student H talking with someone who already took the final in the afternoon around 1:00 pm.
I am upset with Student H's behavior. He's behavior makes other students' efforts come to nothing.