Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

We Don't Cheat at Our School? Think Again

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

We Don't Cheat at Our School? Think Again

Article excerpt

I couldn't believe it when I first heard the instruction. I thought to myself, "Isn't this against the rules?"

In the last academic year, my department had underperformed and a raft of new measures were introduced in an effort to improve our results. One of those tactics would lead to considerable anxiety and lasting regret.

As part of their course, students produce a written portfolio in class under controlled conditions. It counts towards their final grade and each child writes in response to tasks prescribed by the exam board. When these folders were complete, it was decided that key students should redo their pieces. This was well within the board's guidelines. However, students are not allowed to simply rewrite the same set task; they must attempt a new one. I was instructed to break this rule.

I was told that students should look again at their original responses, and edit and improve them before copying them out for assessment. I would then mark each piece and watch as the grades went up.

How was this justified? Other departments in other schools were doing it, I was told. So not acting in the same way would be doing our students a disservice. If everyone else was doing it, why shouldn't we? …

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