Day 124 (of 187) the #collegecheatingscandal
Another interesting news story: https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/12/opinions/college-cheating-scandal-privilege-disability-perry/index.html
essentially pointing out what happens whenever exams are involved: cheating happens. And my take may be different: why are there charges? Why don’t we just acknowledge that this type cheating happens every day and move on. It’s not like this is new or even original. When exams matter, “workarounds” will be found – even if it’s a “pay to play” strategy – generations of wealth have bought entry into schools thanks to naming rights, actual buildings and “legacy entrants” – this is just a strategy for those with “new wealth” to enter that playing field.
If we don’t like that these tests (all tests) can be cheated on….change the methodology. This isn’t the first scandal like this (and I was thinking about this topic for a T3D video: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfunnyw0Vcw3aCfI-ms7WXw ) as there have been scandals in Atlanta and Washington DC and as @yongzhaoed points out in his book Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon, “The Test” in China has a whole industry set up for how to “succeed” in this Gaokao test for placement in life (essentially) from knowing what type of questions to ask and strategies to cheat to hopefully place better than others. At least they are honest and transparent about it.
I’ve cheated on tests. I probably didn’t need to as my strategies meant that I tended to remember what it was I thought I couldn’t remember; but it definitely reduced anxiety and stress knowing there was a reminder available….
I’ve also avoided “common tests” that “everyone has/had to do” – the one-time-dreaded Provincial Exams in BC. High stakes but due to the passing of my father, I was excluded from writing them – I got an aggregate mark and..succeeded in university and more or less in life. “The Test” didn’t really matter – what i did with my learning…that’s what mattered. When I saw a friend use a D4 (4 sided dice) in a chemistry final…and pass…the whole notion of “tests confirm what was learned” eroded….
Want to know what students have done? That’s what efolios are done. I can fake a grade or test result. It is much harder to make up an artifact of learning….I mean cut and paste will always be an option….but as the student who copied an O Henry short story found out – google search confirms many frauds and repeats (he thought the name was based on the candy bar and was a random story, not one by one of the most famous short story writers ever – and that the name of the chocolate bar is [maybe, but not confirmed] in honour of the writer and not the other way round….)
But if specific numbers matter, people will always find interesting ways to reach them…. so I hope that the “criminal charges” fade away and instead the focus shifts to how/why/what we do to “select” students to attend post-secondary (and don’t kid yourself – some k-12) institutes – or perhaps it should be to “not” select some. Interesting connection to this “entry” process came to mind as I recently read from a Dark Horse by Todd Rose @ltoddrose – his final chapter (?) [I lent my copy out] talks about a different methodology some schools can use focused on what students have done (achievement) and sorting out based on fits – if you’re qualified for Ivy League…why can’t we figure out a way to go to one of those schools…. heck, Harvard and MIT are commended for their interview approach which looks at whether or not the learner is a good fit for the school…and vice versa…and is there some fudging and fixing going on? I sure hope so – after all, as a couple of sports people have said: if you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’
So let’s look at ways to do university entrance differen(iated)ly or acknowledge that things like test and cheating scandals will continue – because no monitoring system can keep up with a highly motivated…disruptor…!