University Offers New Grade For Cheating Students: FD

from the fail'd? dept

There's certainly a lot of concern at universities these days about how some students may be using modern technology to cheat in some manner or another, but does that ability to cheat require a change to the grading system? Apparently Simon Fraser University believes so. It's instituting a special new failing grade for students caught cheating: FD. They say it will only be used in cases of repeat offenders caught doing things considered to be egregious cheating -- and that it will only stay on the transcript for two years. It's an interesting idea, but is it really all that different than a typical failing grade? Will students act differently because the potential of a temporary FD grade instead of an F? And if it's a case of a repeat offender taking part in egregious cheating, why not just kick them out and refuse to give them a degree?


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    R. Miles (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:57am

    Rhetorical question?

    And if it's a case of a repeat offender taking part in egregious cheating, why not just kick them out and refuse to give them a degree?
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    I'd have colored the above in green, but I think the point's been made.

     

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  2.  
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    BullJustin (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:57am

    Tuition

    The school has fixed costs (professor salaries, utilities, maintenance, etc.) that must be paid. Most colleges and universities have smaller upper classes as people drop out/are forced out. If they can keep a cheater paying tuition until he's a senior, it doesn't cost the school any more money but they can extract much more tuition from the cheating student.

     

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  3.  
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    some old guy, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:59am

    now much you wanna bet

    how much you wanna bet this is a wikipedia thing?

    They can't give a paper an F for being good but using a source they dont like, so instead they will call wikipedia "cheating" and give the students an FD instead of the A they should have received.

     

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  4.  
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    Free Capitalist, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Wow... I thought they were commies...?

    I recall, at least in the California University system, that a person caught cheating was kicked out and barred from the system. This was the practice for a FIRST offense.

    Its absurd, but R.Miles is correct. This university is now *purely a business.

    I don't deny them that right, it just goes against what used to be lofty standards in higher education.
    Cut their public funding.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:36am

    Abusing that

    Oh, I can see this being abused by professors with chips on their shoulders against students that prove them wrong in a certain area. Getting an 'F' just says the student didn't do the work or didn't care. But this is going to be really easy for a professor to say "I don't like you, so I'm giving you an 'FD' instead of an 'F' so that everyone who sees this grade will think you're a cheater!" An 'F' can be argued if you've done the work and the professor just hates you, but an 'FD' will be something that can't be argued at all. The professor would only need to say "I saw you!" and that will be enough. Go to the department head and try to defend that one.

    And yes, there are professors out there that are like that.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:37am

    They did this at my school for years. It was an XF which marked a failure for "academic dishonesty". They did have in place a appeals system, but I don't know how fair that was.

     

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  7.  
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    Tim, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Makes Sense

    How is this about money? Almost every University has a pool of potential students that didn't get in. They could easily bring in a non-cheating student to take the cheating students place. It's not like you get a refund if you're kicked out for students.

    I think it's appropriate for another institution to know WHY the student failed the class. If the student cheated, what's wrong with another university knowing about it?

     

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  8.  
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    jjmsan (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    Re: now much you wanna bet

    None of the Educational Institutions I have worked at allows professors to give an F for cheating without a review. They have also had an appeals process. In the case of using a source like Wikipedia the professor can simply say that this is not an acceptable source in the instructions. If the student uses it anyway they can be graded down. Since many schools have the professors submit grades online it may be that the special grade is put in to trigger an automatic review whereas they cannot tell what a grade of F is for by itself.

     

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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Deny the Degree

    A much more effective approach would be to simply deny the degree. Period. It's been probably 20 - 30 years since most major Universities spent and received the majority of their money on or for teaching-related activities, so I doubt it's really about money. It's more about feelings crap, self esteem, not wanting to confront and avoiding lots of litigation with angry parents who believe their precious boy or girl could NEVER cheat. Or lie. Or steal. Or drink. Or have sex. Ugh.

     

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  10.  
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    It's Me, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Re: now much you wanna bet

    How do you know the paper deserved an A?

     

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  11.  
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    william, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Re: Rhetorical question?

    I live in Vancouver and I went to SFU for awhile.

    Trust me, they have NO PROBLEM getting students. In fact, so many people trying to do university here that the minimum average acceptance grade is somewhere in the A, A- range already...

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 11:04am

    Re: Deny the Degree

    "angry parents who believe their precious boy or girl could NEVER cheat. Or lie. Or steal. Or drink. Or have sex."

    ....it's like a nearly complete list of all of my favorite things to do!

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re: now much you wanna bet

    If that's how it works then the school should be given an FD since the only time Wikipedia should be cheating is if its not cited

     

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  14.  
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    Will, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 11:24am

    Re: Makes Sense

    The reason the pool exists is because most of those students are not as good or as bright as the students the college wants. Their reputation relies on the college getting the brightest students because they are more likely to succeed, regardless for the education.

     

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    jjmsan (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    The basic problem with the web as a source is the ability to verify the information. Unless you are doing a short term paper, links can disappear, be modified or removed before they can be verified. This is one reason most semester projects require more than just websites for support. (Note: that is not even getting into whether the info is true of not.)

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: now much you wanna bet

    Because it was my paper

     

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  17.  
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    zaven (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    This isn't new

    I went to University of MD for 4 years. This isn't anything new. At UMD, if you are caught cheating and the prof wants to, they give you an XF. This is permanent on your transcript. They won't take it off. Fine by me policy, as they have a pretty rigorous review process for such accusations and it really only shows up if there's significant proof that you cheated.

     

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    cjp, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    This isn't new

    Same here...At Texas A&M they have F* for 'academic misconduct' but it can generally be removed from the transcript after the student completes an academic integrity course. I sat on the board that heard student's appeals and I can say that I was never pressured to keep a student in school who habitually cheated, and that having a professor simply saying "I saw you" wasn't enough evidence to get you the F*.

    As for Wikipedia, nothing wrong with using it as a starting point for your paper...but copying word-for-word several paragraphs from it (or any other source) is not so good.

     

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  19.  
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    chris (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: now much you wanna bet

    Because it was my paper

    no, it was my paper you cheat.

     

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  20.  
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    Chris in Utah, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    From one who knows

    A bad record will follow you throughout your life, being kicked out of a institution does not.

     

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  21.  
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    Chris in Utah, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 1:06pm

    P.S.

    See how fast your 2nd amendment rights are ripped from you with a simple assault charge. Bar brawl, neighbors call on ya from next door over a screaming match with the wife.

    We live in a no mistake society. Let alone a tyrannical one. Small wonder nobody wants to be the IT Czar.

     

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  22.  
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    rhombuses (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Abusing that

    The grade "FD" can only be applied by the head of the department or faculty, it cannot be given out by a mere professor.

    Some professors may be jerks, but this grade will stay out of their petty reach unless they can make a strong case against the student, one that is accepted by the upper administration.

     

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  23.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 1:41pm

    Re: P.S.

    "Bar brawl"

    I can personally assure you that getting into a bar brawl does NOT result in an Assualt charge.


    ....It's Misdemeanor Battery. Just saying....

     

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  24.  
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    Brad Hubbard (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Abusing that

    You know, having grown up with a father in the Academic world, and having seen countless students (peers and friends) accuse professors of "hating them" because they "proved them wrong" and giving them a low grade as a result...it really doesn't happen. I've certainly never seen a professor wrongfully accuse a student of cheating out of spite. That sounds like the reaction of someone who did poorly in a class and is looking for a way to protect their ego.

    The fact is that cheating is taken very seriously at colleges. Where exposed, it is taken to an ethics committee, reviewed, and diciplinary action is taken. As mentioned by "Free Capitalist", in the UC system there is a zero tolerance policy. If a teacher has PROOF you cheated (not just "I saw them"), you're kicked out of the whole system. Period. I've seen it happen to students, too.

    But if you think there are professors out there that actually have the time and energy to develop a grudge against a student who is "smarter" than them, you've been watching too many 80s college movies. That opinion just isn't based in reality. No matter how much better it might make you feel to tell yourself that. Most of the time professors aren't even the ones grading your papers, it's overworked grad students. They sure don't want to pick a fight with an undergrad, because then they have to spend long hours defending it to their advisers, professors, and justifying why they gave this student a grade other than what they deserved.

    Have you even been to college, AC?

     

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  25.  
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    Brad Hubbard (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re: Makes Sense

    Right, but typically the students cheating aren't as bright as the college wants either - they're misrepresenting the college academically, and when they enter the professional world and can't do their own work, they make the college look worse - like it hands out degrees to idiots.

     

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  26.  
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    Brad Hubbard (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    Re: P.S.

    You know, you're right. See, your repeated grammar mistakes make me think that you're not particularly intelligent, well-read, or informed on the subject. So I can safely ignore incredible hyperbole that takes us from "a two year mark on your academic record for habitual cheating" (actually quite forgiving by most academic standards), to "See? We live in a tyrannical society: after multiple convictions (not charges) involving alcohol and abusing those around me, I should still be allowed to keep a gun."

     

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  27.  
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    lordmorgul, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 6:57pm

    Epic Fail...

    The correct grade for people who cheat in college is EPIC FAIL, denoted EF. There are several reasons why this is so, but primarily it is due to the fact that these people embody the Peter Principle and have not even entered the work force yet.

     

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  28.  
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    Felix Pleșoianu, Aug 15th, 2009 @ 3:05am

    Funny how nobody's thinking of the obvious solution: give students exams topics which require them to think and, most importantly, actually understand what they've learned. Then allow them to use any source material during the exam, and watch the show. The result: less wasted resources, less resentment and degrees that are actually worth something. Because, you know, what they call 'cheating' in school is called research and/or collaboration in the real world, and both are prized skills.

    And yes, I do know a university that does that. It has excellent reputation and atracts students who actually want to learn. It's not just theory.

     

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  29.  
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    Too Safe, Aug 19th, 2009 @ 1:16pm

    Failing to fail

    Fail...eh? Students who receive a grade of FD essentially failed at failing, I have long supported raising the standards of failure, because for too long students have expected Fs to be handed to them for merely skipping class and missing every exam. Canada should expect more from its losers....
    http://unreasonablysafe.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/canadafail/

     

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  30.  
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    Valkor, Aug 19th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: P.S.

    ... unless you happen to be an Army Ranger (friend of a brother in law, personal acquaintance of mine), then it's felony assault with a deadly weapon.

     

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  31.  
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    Brad, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: P.S.

    Dude, that's the storyline to Con Air. I don't think it was the friend of a brother-in-law.

    Did your friend take down a hijacked plane, and bring all the bad guys back to jail?

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re: Abusing that

    Dude, I can tell you, as a social scientist that I think you're an idiot. I called out a professor a few years ago for giving some girl extra time to take an exam. Know why? She was the daughter of a professor whom worked at the school. When I found out, the professor was quickly annoyed with me, didn't want to talk to me, and tried to blow off the ordeal. This was during final exams, though. If a person comes two hours late after the exam has ended, then that person should be given an F. DO NOT FEED ME CRAP THAT PROFESSORS ARE NOT BIASED.

     

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