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313 votes

Only one student answered an exam question - and I strongly suspect he cheated

I apologize in advance for my frankness. What can we do in this situation, in which I strongly suspect that this student went to the bathroom to look up a definition on his phone, so that he could ...
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  • 52.4k
279 votes

Slept through final, professor is giving me a zero and failing me – is there anything I can do to change this?

It feels like one of the deadly sins but it's actually a physiological need... If it's a physiological need because you were sick at the time of the exam, then your school should have a policy about ...
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  • 172k
272 votes

Only one student answered an exam question - and I strongly suspect he cheated

Call him in. Ask him how he solved it. Don't imply that he cheated. Just ask how he solved it with genuine curiosity and interest. If he asks why you're asking, tell him he was the only student in ...
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  • 4,227
255 votes

A student forgot to answer an exam question

You should give zero for the answers in question. You are grading what the student handed in, not what s/he potentially could have handed in. The logistics are just as much part of fulfilling an ...
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  • 8,301
250 votes
Accepted

Fellow student asked question from take-home exam on Stack Exchange

Let's be clear here. From your description, the student clearly cheated by violating the take-home exam's stated policy that (quoting from your comment on @user2768's answer) "it is prohibited to ask ...
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  • 169k
243 votes
Accepted

I was caught cheating on an exam, how can I minimize the damage?

I've learned the lesson about cheating, now how can fix this? How can I prevent the 5 instructors from reporting me. It's obvious that I should speak to them, but what should I say? What can I do? ...
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  • 2,937
231 votes
Accepted

Is my approach to discouraging whiners from taking my class acceptable?

Frankly, the whole thing seems like a terrible idea - a guaranteed way to sabotage your rapport with your students and ensure complaints on your evaluations. If you're trying to get tenure, this ...
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229 votes
Accepted

I grade exams together with a colleague but disagree with their grading. What should I do?

Have each person grade different questions, not different students. Consistency in grading is important, and it is unfair to the students if their grades depend substantially on the allocation of ...
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  • 44.7k
208 votes

Slept through final, professor is giving me a zero and failing me – is there anything I can do to change this?

Speaking from personal experience, I advise you to accept the consequences of the events that occurred and move on. There are, and will be, many important situations in life that require you to be in ...
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  • 1,572
180 votes

I was caught cheating on an exam, how can I minimize the damage?

First, in light your question title, let me offer some encouraging words. Your life is not over. Cheating is an academic transgression; unless your situation is very unusual, you have not committed a ...
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  • 3,106
178 votes

Slept through final, professor is giving me a zero and failing me – is there anything I can do to change this?

It sounds like you're still in finals, so the first part is containment – you likely have other exams to be ready for and should probably focus on them. Next, as from @aeismail's answer, it's ...
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  • 6,138
174 votes

How can I prevent students from writing answers on an assignment, then claiming I didn't see their answer?

Use placeholders You can use a sign or an indication that you would never use in any other circumstances (red cross, three question marks, etc.), a short sentence ("No Answer Given", "I'm sure you ...
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  • 3,499
165 votes
Accepted

A student in my course does well on exams, but doesn't do the homework: Go easy on them, or make them "pay the price?"

As an instructor, when I find myself in this situation, I invite the student to make an appointment to speak with me privately in my office. During that private meeting, I will discuss his/her ...
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  • 107k
165 votes

How can I prevent students from writing answers on an assignment, then claiming I didn't see their answer?

I scan my student's assignments. There is a big printer with scanning function in our department where you can just put in the papers and it scans all of them at once. Moreover, I do warn them ...
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  • 1,247
145 votes
Accepted

What to do if I have seen an exam before I have taken it?

In a situation in which you would suffer no matter what you do, you can also work to protect yourself. An anonymous note to the professor that the exam has been compromised and that there are ...
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  • 263k
145 votes

Should students have access to past exams or an exam bank?

As a professor, one has to assume that all past exam questions are available to students. Some student organizations debrief members after exams and capture the questions for such an exam bank. Some ...
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  • 263k
140 votes
Accepted

Is having access to past exams cheating and, if yes, could it be proven just by a good grade?

You haven't said whether you were actually accused or not. I'm assuming that you are just worried about what might happen in the meeting that hasn't happened yet. The most honest way to proceed, ...
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  • 263k
137 votes

How to handle requests for a race-based exam structure?

I would suggest offering something in response that makes the students feel like their concerns are heard, without compromising the academics of the course. For example: I understand that this is a ...
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  • 107k
135 votes

Is it okay to report classmates cheating on exams?

As an instructor, I want to know if there is an environment that allows cheating. Even if the student can't provide proof or only told me afterwards or anonymously, I can take action on future exams ...
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  • 3,983
132 votes

Should I cheat if the majority does it?

I don't want to report them, I probably don't have the guts to do it, especially because it's such a socially accepted practice. A "Snitches get stitches" mentality will not solve your problem. ...
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  • 966
132 votes

Why are low pass rates (below 50%) for exams considered acceptable in Germany?

My background I studied physics and maths in Germany where such failure rates (50% in the first exam, 90% in the make-up exam) were common. I also organised one first-semester physics course with ...
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  • 51.3k
131 votes
Accepted

Some of my students cheated. Should I give them the opportunity to turn themselves in?

Punishments for academic misconduct should be standardized across your university. Check the university policy and follow it. If you are still unsure, ask your academic dean. Instructor discretion ...
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130 votes
Accepted

Exam design: give maximum score per question or not?

Examinations are time-limited, so time is a scarce resource that students need to economise. Stipulating the marks allocated to exam questions has three main purposes: Objectivity: The stipulated ...
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  • 44.7k
125 votes

I used a solution that I happened to already have on my laptop on an exam. Did I cheat?

I would say no, unless this was explicitly prohibited beforehand. Look, what's the purpose of a test? To gauge the extent to which one has comprehended the material. The fact that you did the work ...
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  • 9,947
123 votes
Accepted

Is it unethical to take a photograph of my question sheets from a sit-down exam I've just finished if I am not allowed to take them home?

Taking a photo is effectively equivalent to taking the question sheet home. For either of these: it’s not inherently a bad thing, and (as your friend said) it can be good for personal study, and so ...
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  • 9,442
121 votes

How to gain strength for an exam I have been studying for 2.5 years which is only 15 days away?

Take a two week vacation. Do things you enjoy. Relax. Exercise. Watch TV. Sleep. The gain from any studying you can do in two weeks will be minimal, compared to the previous three years. The gain from ...
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121 votes

Accused of cheating due to the time accounted by Blackboard

Unfortunately you can't prove a negative. You have been "caught" by a system that is insufficiently accurate to properly evaluate your actions (and those of many others). All you can really ...
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  • 263k
117 votes

Other students can easily cheat on a test and the grading system is relative - should I cheat, and what else can I do?

This is a question to the programme leader. Frankly in a scenario where cheating is just waiting for an invitation, relative marking is grossly inappropriate. It is not just giving cheaters an ...
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112 votes

I found an error in my exam that caused me to lose time on other questions, resulting in a lower grade. How can I appeal?

How could I tell him to upgrade my grade and explain to him that I really deserve it and that I really need to have (19/20) so I can pass my semester? Don't tell him how to fix the error, and don't ...
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110 votes

I lost my students' quizzes due to a theft, what should I do?

Report it to the police. Report it to the department. You don't have anything that requires making up to the students. Of course you should be fair to them and not let this hurt them (e.g., no grade ...
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