You never hear of anyone being expelled for cheating on a philosophy exam. Perhaps philosophy students are more mellow. Perhaps the questions on physics exams require more precision than the answer to, “If a tree falls in a forest . . . “. The West Point cheating scandals involved exams in the sciences. Medical school cheating involves memorizing body parts. However, all of these scandals arose because of exams taken online. When will colleges and universities learn that there is no way to set up an online exam that closes all cheating loopholes? Whatever loopholes we faculty close will be short-circuited by the genius of today’s students. If we could just put their knowledge and skills to work in a positive way, i.e., something beyond facilitating exam cheating.
Nonetheless, the U.S. Naval Academy does not mess around: 18 were expelled and 82 entered a five-month remediation program for violation of the academy’s “Honor Concept.” Four were found not guilty of any violations and one is awaiting final determination. That’s 105 midshipmen out of a class of 653. The percentage of the class cheating is troublesome. Judging from general undergraduate statistics on cheating however, the academy may not have caught them all. General percentages range from 50-75% of undergrads confessing to some form of cheating on course work. Another possibility is that those in the Naval Academy believe in their honor code. We can hope. In the meantime, physics, engineering, and medical school exams are hotbeds of temptation.