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Yeah, and if we could just keep women and those nasty poor people out of school like in the good old days, we wouldn't have to worry about accusations that tests discriminate against them!

From a leftie feminist.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Leo Enticknap 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2004 8:33 AM
  Subject: [SCREEN-L] Reply: Cheating and Student Papers


  The real answer to this, IMHO, is the use of traditional unseen exams as a
  key part of the assessment process, for the simple reason that they're
  plagiarism-proof.

  This has become more and more politically incorrect over the years, as the
  leftie/liberal elite sign up to arguments such as it being unfair to
  inflict any stress on the little darlings, that women tend to underperform
  in exams (the same studies show that men tend to underperform in assessed
  coursework, but the lefties and feminists don't seem to be at all concerned
  about that) and that exams are inherently biased in favour of candidates
  from privileged, middle-class backgrounds.  As someone who was bought up in
  a single parent family without even a TV in the home until I was 12, and
  who has always performed better in exams than in any sort of assessed
  coursework, I think I can safely say that the latter contention at least is
  loony left bullshit, pure and simple.

  The ability to gain knowledge, apply it appropriately, form an argument and
  think on your feet under high pressure are skills which employers have a
  right to expect from any graduate coming off a general purpose humanities
  degree and which are simply not tested by assessed coursework.  The
  plagiarism issue, bought to a head by the emergence of Internet sites such
  as the one Jeremy cites, forms yet another argument in favour of abandoning
  flawed 1960s liberal educational ideology and returning to a system of
  assessment which is truly capable of distinguishing the men from the boys
  and the women from the girls.

  In the institution where I teach, my colleagues in other departments (e.g.
  law) which still use exams as a core element in their assessment strategy
  simply do not have this problem.  They also use software which picks up
  cases in which a student's exam performance is significantly lower than
  their coursework performance, so that the lecturers know which pieces of
  work to examine carefully for plagiarism.  You simply can't rip off essays
  from the Internet if you don't have a computer in the exam hall - end of
  problem.

  There is another issue in which our hands are tied behind our back, in that
  the consequences for students who are found to have plagiarised simply
  aren't significant.  In nine cases out of 10, they are simply referred for
  the module in question.  This means that if they plagiarise in years 1 or
  2, the consequences cannot realistically affect their final degree
  classification.  Even if they do it in their final year and are found out,
  the penalty is unlikely to be serious.  This is in stark contrast to when I
  was an undergrad (1992-95).  I remember the induction lecture from the
  school's Dean: she said that the institution was a very liberal place in
  which everyone got a second chance at almost anything.  There were two
  exceptions, however; offences you could get you kicked out with no debate
  or right of appeal.  One was buggering the chaplain, and the other was
  (proven) plagiarism in assessed coursework.  A decade later and in my first
  University teaching job, the rules say that we can't kick anyone out for
  plagiarism because the students are all feepayers and, to paraphrase
  Michael Howard's excellent recent speech, 'they have their rights'.  The
  liberal elite simply dosen't realise that this approach devalues the
  standard, and that everyone in the real world knows that graduating simply
  doesn't indicate the same level of achievement as it did only a decade
  ago.  Sad.

  Leo

  ----
  Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
  University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu

----
Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu