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research or unfair advantage?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by charmedimsure, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. My oldest twin yr 9 has always put a great deal of effort into his h/w and tests/assessments. If he knows he has work to do he will do a lot of research on the internet or go to the library and do further reading. (Lucky aren't I?). When there are tests he looks up past papers, what answers were given and then does papers himself. Last week the year had an English test on toast. The class had worked a lot on various extracts and possible questions. He read the book and we watched the dvd. On line he found copies of the various extracts and sample answers, which helped him to decide how he should answer himself.
    He has been very quiet and not himself this last week and lashed out badly at his brother. Apparently it turns out that he had discussed all of the work he had been doing with some of his friends and they have accused him of cheating. He has taken this very badly as he feels he was just putting in extra work. Is it cheating to research tests etc. in detail? I don't want to curb his enthusiasm or his work ethic, but if, as teachers, you feel what he has been doing in the past to be unacceptable I will encourage him to find a different way of working.
  2. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    My view is that your son has prepared himself well for the assessment and done nothing that any of the other pupils in his class could not have done. That said, the school should try and find a way of examining that does not allow this sort of problem to occur
    At my school we have had a recent problem with a Maths exam with pupils finding a website that has all the papers for Maths (as well as Science and English) available for download, along with the markschemes. One of my tutor group found the site and looked through the paper that he ended up doing (but did not realise that the markscheme was present). He was honest enough to let his teacher know what he had done. Unfortunately when the other papers were done nearly all the pupils in the class had seen them causing some difficulty in the levelling of the pupils.
    When writing science exams now I use exam pro which allows me to select questions from lots of different papers including some from ten years ago which are now not available online which reduces the ability of pupils to gain an advantage.
  3. Thanks ScienceGuy. I did try to tell him that there was nothing he had done that others in his class couldn't have but I believe he feels that that does not necessarily make it right. You mention about Maths and we had a similar problem (as did all of his class) when they were given a past paper to work on for h/w and then discussed it in the lesson and it was exactly the same paper that was given for the test! Would it be best for my son to have a word with his teacher?
  4. There are two separate issues here.

    The first one, which is think is indeed a problem is that the TEACHER hasn't done enough work and through lazy selection of questions has inadvertently given the kids a flawed test. That is a problem, yes, but it isn't your son's problem.
    The second issue is, "is it cheating to research tests in detail"? My answer is, no, its what in the old days we called revision. You read past papers, you get an idea of what sort of questions come up, you know your topic inside out and backwards.Result; you get a good grade in your exam.
    Your son sounds wonderful, and will probably go far with such an impressive academic work ethic. When he gets to A-Level and hopefully to uni, his research habit will stand him in very good stead. His friends sound jealous in the extreme, simple as that. They could put the same amount of work in as him, perfectly easily, but they can't be bothered, so they're trying to sabotage him by calling him a cheat.

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