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Endless College Exam Cheating Controversy

During the final exam of the first semester of 2019 at Inha University, a number of cheating incidents were caught by the engineering college, which became a big issue. The cheating controversy in college exams is a problem that continues to arise in other universities. Let's look at examples of colleges that have recently had an issue with cheating, and how students are aware of cheating and what they are doing to correct the problem. Also, I would like to look into the limitations of solving cheating problems at a university.

Cheating Issues in Universities

Inha University - group cheating controversy, leading to prosecution

Several students of the Department of Information and Communication Engineering at Inha University, were punished for cheating in a group in the final exam of the first semester of 2019. In detail, on June 10, 2019, 18 students, consisting of 17 first-year students and 1 second-year student, out of 35 students in the final required course of the major required course cheated. This test was conducted in two classrooms due to the large number of students. The professor supervised one class and the assistant supervised the other class. The professor moved briefly from one classroom to  the other to receive questions from the students about the test questions, at which time the students' cheating began. While the professors were away, they shared their answers, discussed the test paper, and cheated explicitly. The students who witnessed this formally raised the matter with the school. Also, the controversy has grown with posts on the school's online bulletin board. Afterwards, the school learned the facts, and the 18 students who participated in the cheating visited the department office on June 12, 2019 and admitted their mistakes. On June 18, 2019, the Technical and Punishment Committee changed their grades to F. The Technical Punishment Committee also had them to submit a written statement and to do volunteer work as  punishment. Then, some students brought accusations of cheating to the Incheon Prosecutor's Office, saying that the discipline was too light based on the regulations. According to the Inha University student punishment regulations, cheaters on tests are to be subjected to the discipline of suspension. Inha University officials said that "most of the students who committed the misconduct are first-year students and they considered the cheating to be accidental." He explained, “If the students are judged to improve, they can receive disciplinary actions such as service orders and counseling.” The 18 students who cheated received a police investigation after the accusation, but the verdict is still not determined.

 

A survey on college students' awareness of cheating

 

The Employment Career Portal surveyed 336 college students during the final exams of universities in November 2017 and found that 57.4% said they had cheated on college exams. The reasons given for cheating was 57%, 'to get good grades', and 31.1% 'because they didn't study well'. Next, 'I feel lost if others don't do it' accounted for 11.4%. In the question about what they think about cheating, 39.3% of the respondents said that they were shy and unscrupulous and should never do it, but 36% of the respondents say that it is inevitable because of their grades. In addition, 31.1% of the respondents said they had been caught cheating. Regarding how to deal with cases of people caught cheating, 44.6% of respondents said "I expect to be forgiven unconditionally" and 22.3% of respondents "would admit the cheating with confidence." Finally, 16.6% of the respondents said, “I deny cheating and admit it only if there was evidence.” So even though students recognize that cheating is wrong, they tend to cheat without hesitation.

 

Causes of the Unending Cheating Debate

 In addition to the cheating incidents of Inha University recently, the cheating controversy continues to occur at other universities.

Insufficient sanctions by professors

Chosun University

On April 23, 2019, a Facebook page titled `` I'll tell you on behalf of Chosun University '' posted an article stating that a student witnessed another student's cheating on a test. The writer said, "A professor at the time of the exam, a girl cheated on the test by reading notes that she had written on her left leg." The writer took a picture of this  and sent it to the professor, but the professor did not take any action. The professor rather said, "Regardless of whether you are cheating or just taking the test, you can get good grades unconditionally," he said. As the controversy happened, the members of the school's bachelor committee tried to confirm the facts, and the official said, "We are aware that the professor acted inadequately in dealing with cheating at the time." In addition, the official explained that there will be an investigation into the situation by students and lecturers who are involved in the class, and it will be dealt with according to the school rules and academic regulations.

SunMoon University

 SunMoon University conducted interviews in November 2018 on why the school's cheating problem continues. One student said, “The punishment for cheating is weak. I told the professor that I had seen a student cheating , but there was no sanction for the student.” So, the reality is that students' cheating does not decrease  because the sanctions of professors for cheating are insignificant. However, most cheating is not caught by the examiner, but by other students' reports after the test is over. Professors say, “Because of this, direct punishments like giving a grade of F based  only on suspicion is difficult to do in reality. Therefore, it is just solved by retesting.” A professor at SunMoon University said, “Usually, if a professor catches a student who is cheating on the spot during the exam, he gives the student an F." But there is  difficulty in giving a retest. Some students are dissatisfied with the retest, because the retest may hurt other students who did not cheat and it may give them lower scores than the original test.

 

Poor online lecture system

Open Cyber University of Korea (OCU) where lectures and tests are conducted online form an academic exchange among about 73 universities including Sungkyunkwan University and Busan University of Foreign Studies. OCU's online lectures, which are taken by more than 100,000 college students every year, have been found to have collective cheating by some college students. Cheating through KakaoTalk group chat room is being done by exploiting the fact that students can take exams regardless of time and place. Open University of Korea (OCU) has authorized a log-in certification process for students in attendance and examinations since July 2017, but it was not possible to eradicate all the cheating techniques that occur among students. In one case, Kim, a fourth-year student at a university in Busan, enrolled in OCU's Internet class in the first semester of 2018, where he took on his  exams alone and was teased by his friends. It has been revealed that there is a 'Cacao Talk for OCU group chat room'. In fact, if you connect to the university community, there are a lot of posts such as “I’m finding OCU ○○ group’s KakaoTalk room” or “please invite me to one of a OCU subject groups KakaoTalk room. I have genealogy”. According to the April 2018 Busan Daily, a college student who had taken OCU lectures said, "It was not an easy test, but because of the OCU wide talk room, it was difficult to get a good grade if only one or two questions were wrong." An official at the Open Cyber ​​University of Korea (OCU) said, "We operate a bulletin board for misconduct and conduct self-monitoring on the community to bring sanctions such as invalidating the test when cheating is found." "We are striving to come up with more fundamental countermeasures against collective cheating," he said. On the other hand, the person in charge of the Internet lecture system said, "In fact, there is a limit to management unless the test is conducted offline where there is a supervisor." He explained, "There is a limit to changing many existing cyber university systems at once, so it's virtually impossible to come up with measures right now."

 

For healthy college exams without cheating

 In order to solve these causes of cheating, various universities and students are looking at corrective activities.

SFC's Anti-Cheating Campaign

SFC (Student For Christ) is a Christian club that strives to wipe out the cheating culture on campus. It has central clubs operated in many universities, including Dong-A University, Yonsei University, Kyungnam University, and Inha University. Since 1997, the SFC has been carrying out its cheating deportation movement as part of the “Culture of 5 University Cultures (Loss of Morality, Individualism, Excess Consumption, Obscene Disorder, and Cheating)” and has been carrying out activities to expel cheating. Activities such as cheat eradication, signature campaigns, and surveys are conducted. A student at SFC said, "When we post a cheat sheet that claims to prevent cheating, people sometimes damage it or tear it." “But we can't stop this effort to make students and professors recognize that the cheating culture that is prevalent in college is a big crime.” Dong-A University's SFC holds an anti-cheating campaign every year, giving students papers that contain anti-cheating messages with jellies. Cho Jin-hong, chairman of SFC, who was interviewed by a Dong-A reporter during the final exam of the first semester of 2018, said, "It was time for both the club members and the participating students to wake up about cheating." I hope all students will take the test honestly.” Inha University's SFC has also actively campaigned against cheating in the past. In 2010, a cheating debate arose during an examination of a mandatory general education subject. According to the students who took the test, 'A hundred or so students took the test in the auditorium, and the lighting was not  bright and many of the students were cheating because only one professor supervised it.' Since then, the anti-cheating campaign continues to be held on campus by the SFC. The campaign was carried out by attaching a conscientious commitment not to cheat to leaves with the phrase 'Please leave the leaves on the conscience tree' and attach them to a whiteboard. Moon Il-young, of the department of business administration at Inha University, who participated in the campaign, insisted that students, "Do not cheat voluntarily, as well as by management and supervision" and he said, "it is important to change your own consciousness."

Test without supervisions

Many universities have established honorary councils and honor codes, which consist of professors and students who work on prevention, education, and sanctions for all aspects of academic misconduct, including cheating. The Honors Rule states that when students submit a pledge to the school stating that they will act honestly on the test, the professors honor the student's pledges and give tests without supervision. It first began at the University of Virginia in 1840 and was adopted by Harvard University, Stanford University, Princeton University, and the California Institute of Technology.

Handong University

In the case of Korea, Handong University adopted the first honor code in 1995 with its 'honor council'. It conducts a variety of activities related to academic misconduct and conducts the "No Supervision Test", which has been well followed. To do this, during the freshman OT, "Honorary Night" event, the honorary rules are signed, the test paper is signed honestly, and test papers without signatures are invalidated. At the actual test site, the test supervisor can not be seen. Instead, only  the start and end times of the test and the professor's mobile phone number are written on the blackboard. According to an article titled “The spread of campaigns to eradicate kerning nationwide colleges”, Jin Young-kyun, a professor of economic management at Handong University, said, “The unsupervised test system has transcended the campaign level and has become the culture of Handong University.”

Seoul National University

The Natural Sciences college of Seoul National University, which had some cases of measles in the first semester of 2015, decided to apply the rules of honor and introduce the unsupervised test in the first semester of the next year. Since then, the first semester of 2016, they received a pledge from the freshmen who participated in the orientation, and at Natural Sciences college of Seoul National University, some subjects conducted unsupervised examinations. Initially, the university headquarters decided to root out the cheating by making the test management more strict, but the Natural Sciences college chose to leave the student's honor and conscience. Shim Yoon-hee, the Editorial Committee member, said, 'In Korea, Handong University is the only university using the Honor Rules since its opening in 1995. However, it is highly desirable for Seoul National University to participate.'

Fine punishment

Universities in Australia have also suffered from cheating students in recent years. The UK newspaper The Guardian estimates that 70% of Australian college students cheat using online cheating sites. In 2014, it was controversial that Chinese students studying in Australia made a ghostwriting website for their essays. The students were expelled at the time, but this did not eradicate cheating in college. The Australian government imposed strong sanctions such as imprisonment of two years in jail or fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars for students cheating in college. April 7, 2019 The Guardian reported that Australian Education Minister Dan Tehan will enforce legislation to strongly punish students who cheat at university, and this is still under discussion. According to the bill, cheating on a college exam or essay will result in a two-year imprisonment or a fine of AUD 210,000.

Online test supervision

The cyber lecture MOOC of overseas universities is different from in Korea where only online exams exist. The cyber lecture MOOC of an overseas university designates a specific school or testing center and tests are taken there. They may also take an online exam but students are monitored with a webcam or a software program monitors their computers. In this regard, Professor Jong-Jin Roh of the Department of English Language and Literature of Korea Maritime and Ocean University, said, “In case of overseas cyber lectures, any misconduct is caught and students are suspended or expelled through the Institutional Disciplinary Committee.” He said that "cheating rarely occurs in overseas university online exams." In addition, the 'Online Examiner' is emerging, which oversees the examinee's screening status (eyes, typing speed) on the online course contents and monitors whether there is cheating. In the United States, more than 400 people are engaged in this work at Procter U, a leading provider of on-line testing, as of August 2014. There is no institution in Korea that conducts tests through online test companies or online test inspectors. In most cases, only test fraud prevention software is used by the testing company. The functionality provided by this software is at the basic level, such as prohibiting the use of special keys on the computer keyboard. For example, there are Alt + Tab screen transitions that make it easy to scroll down during a test. In the online exam industry, there are many cases where people do not know whether there is a system and job related to online exam supervision.

 

We looked closely at the cheating events of the many controversial universities so far. There were many problems due to the lack of strong punishment and the lack of management and good systems. It is of course necessary to improve this system, but above all, the recognition that students should avoid cheating on a voluntary basis will form a healthy university test culture.

장세연  won_1022@naver.com

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