In almost every exam taken in a university, there is always someone cheating. Notes on the desks, usage of mobile phones, passing of notes etc – there are numerous ways that one can cheat. However, there are ways of cheating that are difficult to detect and yet there are ways that are just so blatant that one would just wonder, ‘Why isn’t anyone stopping him?!’ This is the point. Most who are in their 3rd year of university have at least once witnessed someone cheating. Currently, in some subjects, cheating is almost seen as the obvious thing to do.
Step inside the CAU community webpage ‘CAUIN’ and type ‘cunning’ (The Korean word for ‘cheating’) in Korean in the search engine to see the point. There are approximately over 30 postings which have that word inside the title; a total of approximately twenty-four thousand hits, with an average of approximately seven hundred hits. That is way over the average hits for a posting, which shows that many people tend to click that keyword.
This situation is not only happening at CAU. Miss Han, who is a student from Seoul University said, “I haven’t actually seen people cheating on tests, but there are rumors which are probably true. I don’t know the exact way it happened, but there was a case where a whole group of medical students got caught cheating. Our system to prevent cheating is not a very effective one. There are some professors who try their best, but it usually ends by widening the spaces between students and preventing students from sitting next to walls. But honestly I think that most people who cheat would write down notes on their palms or desks, but checking those seems a little absurd to happen in a university. However some professors have a very good solution to the problem to prevent cheating by making the tests open-book or actually allowing every student 1 A4 sheet of paper to literally “cheat.” Personally I think this is really effective.”
The situation seemed a little worse at the Korea Aerospace University for the interviewee, Mr. Choo, actually personally witnessed a group of people cheating. “There was a professor who didn’t supervise properly and I heard that the students who were at the back managed to check each other’s answers. I was sitting at the front so I didn’t have a clue. But our school does try to prevent these kinds of cheating. Most of the professors check the students’ ID cards before the tests so it effectively prevents other people from taking a test for someone else. But the drawback is that when you become a senior, cheating becomes almost meaningless so some professors don’t bother.”
Considering other universities, they don’t really seem to have a clear-cut way of preventing cheating, but that does not allow cheating in the first place. The graph (below, at the right, at the left, above) shows that more than 50% of university students have had an experience of cheating, and that’s just the percentage of people who have cheated before - the average is probably something worse to know.
Focusing on CAU, the seriousness and the reality entirely lies in our CAU student’s conscience. However, that does not declare our exam system innocent. Anyone who hasn’t studied enough because of unavoidable or personally difficult-to-avoid circumstances always gets the sweet temptation to cheat. The degree of temptation differs entirely according to many different factors but the biggest factor would be how difficult it is to cheat. For instance, one can rarely find someone trying to cheat in the Su-nung exam; it would be almost impossible. Likewise, if the exams taken at CAU were difficult to cheat on, it wouldn’t be long until no one would even dream of cheating.
The cheating machine
There are many ways to cheat. Some use rather crude yet effective methods such as writing on their palms, fingernails, notes, erasers and so on. These are actually quite difficult to detect if you can’t see the person’s hands or check their pencil cases. But also, ever since mobile phones had the text messaging technology, there have been many ways to cheat by using electronic devices. Some might say that smartphones are the most dangerous. Actually they are so dangerous that most supervisors tend to prevent students from using them. The dangerous devices are those that students are allowed to use such as the scientific calculator.
Just a simple search in any search engine and you can find that the TI calculator has all sorts of functions, including saving formulas. Thus, if used in a rather immoral manner, it can become a natural cheating device. Therefore, there must be adjustments to prevent this kind of cheating method. Since prohibiting that kind of calculator altogether would be a waste of money for students with only intentions of using the calculating functions, a simple way would be to reset all the calculators before the beginning of the exam. It may be a little tedious to check every single calculator, but it can make the difference of preventing a C becoming an A.
Simply too easy to cheat
Yet the biggest problem would be that it is just too easy to cheat. Regardless of the size of the exam room there are hardly ever more than two people who supervise. Even if there is only one person presiding over an examination, he or she still sometimes leaves the room. It depends on the people’s sense of values, but when it comes to life-determining exams, values tend to drop dramatically. In other words, unless one has memorized everything about the subject back-to-front, anyone can get tempted.
So people need to be restrained and harnessed so that actually attempting to pull the trigger would seem foolish. Otherwise, if there are no supervisors or about three people blocking the view in front of you, you might be tempted to give it a shot. The best way to prevent attempts of cheating would obviously be to have more supervisors pacing around the exam room. If not, at least two people should be at the front and the back. Since one cannot know what the person in the back is staring at, everyone would feel at least a little afraid that the supervisor might be staring at them. Also, there are a few ways that supervisors might want to keep in mind.
Checking palms, wrists, fingernails, desks, chairs before the beginning of the exam.
Putting all the bags and pencil cases at the back of the classroom. Only allowing students to keep erasers, a mechanical pencil and a pen at the desk.
Clearly reminding everyone the consequences of cheating before the exam.
Banning every mechanical device apart from electronic calculators, which must be reset before the exam.
Randomizing the seats of every student, or mixing students so that everyone is next to a student from a different department.
Restricting students to turn their heads or placing their hands in places that cannot be seen by supervisors.
Only allowing students who have turned in their exam papers to exit the room.
Fear of becoming a tattle tale
Actually, if every student did not hesitate to report sightings of cheating, this could be more effective than 10 supervisors for 30 students. Most of the postings in CAUIN were reports of finding traces of someone cheating. You can even find a posting where a student reported a cheater but the supervisor said in such a loud voice that everyone could hear, “Oh, the person in front of you cheated!!?” and as a result the student posted that he or she will never report cheaters again. This kind of person is actually a very rare case – hardly anyone finds the courage to report cheats – but even in this case, when she (allegedly a she) reported and the people around her knew that she reported, she decided to never report again. This is the point. People are simply afraid that they would be looked upon as a tattle tale or a grasser.
In Korean society, where forming a good clique is seen as an enormously important part of life (to some, the most important), having the image of a grasser would cause almost irreversible damage to one’s image. Therefore, there should definitely be a kind of system that can assure that no one would know that one had grassed. For starters, supervisors should definitely be quiet on the matter and try their best to keep everyone in the dark on who the reporter is. This is the least that they can do for the people who had the courage to report. Secondly, it should be made possible to report in the middle of the exam for evidence could be eliminated after the exam. Showing a note to the supervisor shouldn’t be too difficult. Finally, for the best possible effect, there should be some kind of reward for the people who report cheaters. Of course, giving academic credit would not make sense but some kind of reward would definitely be effective.
Cheating is the main thing that destroys fair competition. If cheaters keep on cheating, in the future people without talent or ability end up being in a place where both are needed. As a result, our society would be out of balance. Therefore preventing cheating is something that must be done as soon as possible.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >