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Malpractice- coursework

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by Murphy1971, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. Murphy1971

    Murphy1971 New commenter

    Has anyone had a Malpractice Concern, following a visiting moderator for ICT, querying the save/modify dates of the coursework being sampled? Work saved after the grades submitted- in simple terms.
    I have to get the work out of the students folders , into my area and then into the moderators area ready to be viewed and sampled- so some dates have changed.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. TIA
  2. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    I think I would query it as well. How was it handed in to be marked? I would expect to see a date before it was marked. Surely all you need to do is to give the moderator access to this folder.
  3. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    This is simply the result of having saved the original files into another folder, and how that affects the created and modified parts of the file's metadata timestamp. The only way to avoid it, would be to allow the moderator to access the original submissions. In that case, the accessed part of the timestamp might change, but not the modified part.

    For a slightly more detailed explanation:


    If you create a file from scratch, it gets a creation time of "now", and a modification date of "now". Now imagine copying this file to another drive. Windows will keep the modification time, but the creation time of that file will be set to the time you copied the file to that drive (i.e. the time the file was created on that drive). Simple as that.

    It’s actually correct:

    The last time the contents of the file were changed is stored in the modification time.
    The time the file was created on this very drive is stored in the creation time.


    There are a number of circumstances where a computer does have to make its best guess on some attributes. For instance, if I copy a file from my SAMBA file server to my workstation, the file creation date is the time I pasted the file, not the time it was initially created. In my case it does maintain the correct modified time, but that may not always be the case.

    install likes this.
  4. Murphy1971

    Murphy1971 New commenter

    Thanks Elder_cat, it’s baffling as some have old dates and some have recent dates.
    Will just have to wait and see what the outcome is
  5. Murphy1971

    Murphy1971 New commenter

    This is an option I will have to check with the Technicians- as the guest user has restricted access on the network.
  6. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    Must admit I am puzzled by this. There are many valid reasons for the files to have a date after the submission date. if a moderator is making an issue about the dates, you need it in writing as this, any way you look at it, is an accusation of cheating.

    Could be the moderator really does not understand how the dates could be after the submission date.
  7. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    I think the answer to your problem may lie in whether the files are COPIED or MOVED into the teacher's and moderator's areas. I suspect from your post that they are copied.

    If you COPY the files, then logically the dates may work as follows:

    Student creates file
    creation date 18/03/2018
    accessed date 18/03/2018
    modified date 18/03/2018

    Student modifies file 03/06/2108
    creation date 18/03/2108
    accessed date 03/06/2018
    modified date 03/06/2018

    Student saves file 03/06/2018
    creation date 18/03/2018
    accessed date 03/06/2018
    modified date 03/06/2018

    Student submits file 03/06/2018
    creation date 18/03/2018
    accessed date 03/06/2108
    modified date 03/06/2018

    File moved to teacher's area 04/06/2018
    creation date 04/06/2108
    accessed date 04/06/2018
    modified date 03/06/2108

    Creation date changes, to reflect fact that a 'new' file is being 'created' in teacher's area.
    File simply moved without any comments or anything else added to it, so no changes recorded.
    Last recorded change was on 03/06/2018.
    But got moved onto different area on 04/06/2108.
    So modified date now precedes creation date.

    File moved to moderator's area 05/06/2018
    creation date 05/06/2108
    accessed date 05/06/2018
    modified date 03/06/2108

    Creation date changes, to reflect fact that a 'new' file is being 'created' in moderator's area.
    File simply moved without any comments or anything else added to it, so no changes recorded.
    Last recorded change was on 03/06/2018.
    But got moved onto different area on 05/06/2108.
    So modified date now precedes creation date.

    If, on the other hand, you perform a MOVE operation, then the files should effectively be renamed with the pointer to their new location, but with the dates unchanged.

    Probably also worth remembering that there can be two sets of dates associated with a file - the dates that the Operating System associates with the file, and the dates contained in the document properties. In the case of say a Word document, there are certain properties the user is allowed to change, although by default they are not allowed to change the creation or modified dates.
    install, Murphy1971 and Stiltskin like this.
  8. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    We have had questions regarding malpractice before, yes. Took a huge amount of time to meet with the Head and the Exams Officer to go through little bits like this. Wrote a long letter explaining reasons for discrepancies and then got a letter back of about 3 lines stating "ok cool thanks". All's well that ends well I suppose, but it was a lot of work to reply!

    I'd suggest meeting with your headteacher and drafting a response explaining why the dates have changed, possibly with a screenshot of the original work in the student area and timestamp showing the date.

    It's good they check this sort of thing but it's a pain to have to respond to!
    install likes this.
  9. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    I suppose the one consolation, is that once you've done it, you shouldn't need to reiterate next year :)
    install likes this.
  10. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    This stinks.

    The exam boards take tax payers money to provide assessment. They have somehow managed to pass responsibility to teachers so successfully (and without payment) that they can threaten teachers with malpractice! And that could be the end of your career Murphy.

    How did we ever let this happen?

    Exam boards should take the responsibility for developing assessments in a form that they can themselves provide and verify. If save dates are so important to them they should have provided the hardware/infrastructure to save on.

    And they aren't as cleaver as they think. There are plenty of utilities which can modify file system fields.
    install, Murphy1971 and binaryhex like this.
  11. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Where are they looking at the creation date? In properties general tab which can easily be made incorrect - like this created after it was modified:
    Or in the detail tab (which are more likely to show the correct creation and last saved date)
    Murphy1971 likes this.
  12. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Sorry I realise this isn't valid for certain file types. For some reason I had in my head it was a word document (obviously need some sleep).

    As an aside are the student folders backed up, so it may be possible to give them a copy of the relevant time frame to show it was created before the date suggested in the time stamp?
    Murphy1971 and border_walker like this.
  13. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    The student's final submission could be saved as 'read-only', and their permissions to access the directory in which the final submission was saved should be revoked.

    Thereafter, regardless of who accesses the file after that, nothing more can be done that would change the last modified date.

    Any comments needed to be made, either by the teacher when marking the assignment, or by a moderator when reviewing the work submitted, can be made in a separate file.
    install, Murphy1971 and border_walker like this.
  14. Murphy1971

    Murphy1971 New commenter

    This is exactly what the accusation was- I had amended the course work and it was worked on after the grades were submitted. But this wasn't the case at all. All we can think is when we have opened the work to complete the detailed cover sheet- cross referencing the file names and page numbers etc- it altered some dates.
  15. Murphy1971

    Murphy1971 New commenter

    That's exactly what we have done... but the time it takes to get all student statements, and to type up interview notes, responses to each bullet point, and provide evidence- was ridiculous. And like you say to get a reply the next day to say Thanks that's fine...grrr. positive outcome in the end
  16. Murphy1971

    Murphy1971 New commenter

    This is what we had to do as supplementary evidence to support or response, but the hours it took the IT team to collate this evidence was incredible for all students.
    But they responded within a day to say they were satisfied with our explanation- so positive outcome eventually- just a stress full 2 weeks
    Stiltskin likes this.
  17. Murphy1971

    Murphy1971 New commenter

    Absolutely Dorsetdreams- don't even get me started on their online repository system.
    The hours it took to collate the evidence, to defend simple systems to get files from one area to another, and interviewing all the students 50+ and writing up statements from them has been incredible.
    But in the end- it paid off, as we had a positive response yesterday to say they have accepted our explanation.
    I need another half term to recover from the stress of it all.
  18. Murphy1971

    Murphy1971 New commenter

    Its just ludicrous - to use this as hard evidence of cheating- when there are so may flaws in the systems and loop holes
  19. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    I'm confused, maybe because I have not used the online repository. I assumes you weren't using it, and that the board's 'accusation' is that you 'improved' the work of selected students after the board asked for the moderation sample. If you did use the repository, surely they have the work, all of it, all nicely uploaded on their system, on or before 15th May? If this is the case, what were they suggesting?

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