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Even Chris Griffin Isn’t That Stupid

, , , , , | Learning | September 26, 2021

It’s the first day of classes, so we’re going over the syllabus.

Professor: “Now, here are my rules on using technology in class. I don’t mind y’all taking notes or whatever digitally as long as that’s actually what you’re doing and you aren’t being a distraction. A couple of years back, I caught one guy on his phone during an exam. The weird part was that he wasn’t even cheating. He was watching Family Guy! Good lord, can you imagine watching a TV show on your phone during an exam?! Or sitting next to someone that is?! Don’t be that guy, please.”

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No Buying Your Way Out Of This One

, , , , , , , | Learning | August 20, 2021

[Student] is in our engineering course. He doesn’t listen to anything the lecturer says, doesn’t make notes, and is often late. Halfway through the year, he brags that he hasn’t done a single assignment himself. He either paid someone to write them or bought them online.

As someone who struggles daily, this infuriates me. Just because he has money, why should he have the easy life?!

After another bragging session a few weeks on, I speak to my professor, who tells me sadly that if there is no proof and the plagiarism isn’t evident, they can’t do anything about it. But “these people never get far.”

I take that as some meaningless platitude and try my best to avoid [Student] altogether.

The rest of the year, I struggle through the course getting average marks. [Student] gets 100% every time. Right at the end of the academic year, this happens:

Lecturer: “Good news, everyone! We have decided to scrap the last assignment.”

Cheers come from the class.

Lecturer: “But we will be having a test, instead.”

Cue lots of groans.

Lecturer: “Don’t worry. We devised a special one, just for this class.”

We all crammed like crazy. [Student] was particularly panicking. When we got to the test, it was incredibly easy, with basic answers from the coursework, just simple understanding questions. Everyone finished it in minutes… all apart from [Student].

He got a redo, failed, then had a retest date, and he failed that, too. He couldn’t pass without the exam and ended up repeating the whole year.


This story is part of our Best Of August 2021 roundup!

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Practice Taking What You Can Get

, , , , , | Learning | July 12, 2021

At the university where I work, I teach a library research methods course. Since the final exam is a skills test, I prepare a take-home practice exam with different questions that cover the same techniques as the final. If the students can work out the answers to the practice test, they should do well on the final.

Two students approach me.

Student: “We want to leave a couple of days before the final. Could we take it early?”

Me: “You can’t take the final itself, since you could potentially pass the questions on to other students, but I’ll let you take the practice exam in class the day before everyone else gets it, and I’ll grade you on that.”

Student: “But that’s not fair! We should get a practice exam, too.”

Me: “Let me get this straight. As a favor, I am letting you take the exam two days early, but you also want me to create an extra practice exam just for you two?”

Student: “Yes?”

Me: “No.”

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Somebody’s Slope Is About To Become Much More Negative

, , , , , , | Learning | June 3, 2021

In my junior year of high school, I am put in a math class with a teacher fairly fresh out of school. She is by no means a bad teacher, but because she is new, she is a bit naive. For example, other math teachers usually create two similar but different versions of a test with different colors that alternate each row so that people can’t cheat, but she didn’t do this… at least at first.

It must have become obvious to her that people were sharing answers. On our fifth quiz, I am working on it and realize the girl next to me is copying my answers. Whatever, I don’t really care. But then, the graph on her quiz catches my eye and I realize that her slope is negative while mine is positive, and then it hits me: they’re different quizzes. I just let that ship sail and let her do what she wants.

Quiz scores come back and my classmate gets a zero while I get a perfect score. At parent-teacher conferences, we get to reminisce about that interaction, and I get to tell my teacher that I realized both that my classmate was cheating and that they were different tests and chose not to try to alert her, which tickled my teacher pink.

She started color-coding the versions after that, but she put a lot of cheaters to shame on the first one!

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Well, At Least He Learned Something…

, , , , , , , | Learning | May 29, 2021

Teacher: “For our next science test, I will award the person who scores the highest a $20 prize.”

To a ten-year-old kid back in the 1990s, this was serious cash.

A few days later, I went into the empty classroom during lunch break and spotted a stack of the aforementioned tests on the teacher’s desk. Devil horns sprouted out of my head as I grinned from ear to ear, snatched a test off the stack, and stuffed it in my backpack.

I figured the teacher would get suspicious of a C-average student suddenly scoring a perfect on a relatively difficult exam, so that evening when I was at home, I memorized that test forward, backward, out of order, sideways, upside down, and even made flashcards for myself. The following morning, I took the test, and the day after that — just as I was fully fearing — the teacher stopped me at the door as the class was filing in to begin the day and marched me straight to the principal’s office. After presenting her accusations and hearing my denial, they demanded I retake the test in front of them.

I wish I could describe the bewildered looks on their faces after the teacher graded my test, only for me to score another “perfect” score. The teacher then tried asking questions from the test out of order and then rewording the questions to trip me up into giving an incorrect answer. Then, suddenly, she flung the test down.

Teacher: “He’s not even hesitating to answer or taking any time to think!”

I ended walking out of that office feeling like Billy Bada**.

She later did give me the $20 — begrudgingly, with an “I know you did something” look on her face.

Does the story end there? Unfortunately for me… no. For the rest of the school year, every time a science test was approaching, the teacher would announce the date of the test, and would always end the announcement this way.

Teacher: *Ominously* “And I expect a certain someone in this classroom to score no less than 100%, or he will be in more trouble than he has even been in in his entire life!”

And for the rest of the school year, I made science my number one subject to focus 90% of my attention on, and I would spend hours frantically studying for each approaching test — far too terrified to score less than 100% each time. Once, I scored a 95% and nearly pissed myself.

Disclaimer: Cheating on schoolwork is something I now as an adult do not condone; you are only robbing yourself. I am only laughing at the humor of this situation which occurred nearly thirty years ago.

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