Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cheating at Barnard

Now in the news: a cheating scandal at Barnard College. As one commenter writes, “Cheating on a weekly reading quiz?? Are you kidding me?!”

Here is the difficulty in defending a traditional understanding of “college”: if all a course amounts to is a single two- to three-page paper and weekly quizzes on “basic poem identifications,” quizzes that the students themselves grade, what’s to defend?

[For those who do not recognize the name, Barnard College, affiliated with Columbia University, is one of the Seven Sisters.]

comments: 2

Anonymous said...

Please see this follow-up story for more details.

A source close to Professor Ellsberg has informed us that the majority of students suspected of cheating in the so-called “Barnard Cheating Scandal” are actually men and women from Columbia College. Of the 123 students, only around a fifth of the students have been specifically marked out as having cheated–and Ellsberg has a list of names.

Additionally, our source tells us that the alleged cheating was more serious than previously believed. It was not simply Googling answers, but students paying other students to help them receive higher grades. It is of note that students did not personally grade their own quizzes; they were scored by classmates (peer-graded, not self-graded).

Finally, it is apparent that a number of students (all CC) dropped the class as soon as the final was added, and that those suspected of cheating will be hearing from the disciplinary board soon.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for the link. I didn’t mean to imply that each student graded her or his own quizzes. But the quizzes were graded, as I wrote, by “the students themselves,” not their instructor, which can create, as it did here, all sorts of problems.

It sounds as if you’re interested in defending the integrity of Barnard students. What interests me about this story: the embarrassingly low expectations re: coursework and the feeling among many students, whatever their affiliation, that cheating was called for.