Higher education promotes cheating



Continuing with a book by an Australian academic, I see more reinforcement of what I’ve testified to in this blog. What I’ve read leads to another conjecture on my part.

See, there’s obviously something really wrong in the world right now. America, as “world leader,” obviously has to be part of that wrong. Fraud, lies, and corruption are so everyday that nobody even cares any more. So what if supposedly-conquered Iraq is now being overrun by a few thousand mercenaries (am I the only one that remembers Iraq’s size was why we couldn’t find WMDs even with a couple hundred thousand troops)? So what if the government says inflation is 1.5% even as every expense I have is up more than that (am I the only one with a pocket calculator)? So what if politicians get massive kickbacks from constructing universities even as on-site student population is dropping (am I the only one to notice the empty buildings)?

This sort of corruption is not the act of a single person, it takes many people looking the other way to pull the previous capers off. Many of the people that do this are trained in the US education system, a system that has infected the Australian higher education system. I’ve discussed many times how college administrators encourage cheating, and overlook even the most extreme examples. That’s just my testimony, however, even as I’ve shown that faculty who catch cheaters will be punished.

Cheating is rampant in America’s higher education system, but administration only wants growth, and getting rid of cheaters would cut into that.

I’ve seen many student papers where it was clear all the student did was “cut and paste” from somewhere, then call the writing his own. In times past, this was called plagiarism, and cheating, and students that did such were failed, if not tossed from university. Now, it’s still called cheating, but students are no longer penalized…and admin tells me to just let the student plagiarize write another paper.

Educationists have succeeded in making cheating acceptable to the point that most students cheat. In Australia, they’re upping their game:

The “cut and paste” habit is a hard one to break. Undaunted by such problems, noted Educationalist and “Futurist” Dr Dale Spender has castigated university academics for admonishing the “cut and paste” approach to university assignment work. According to Dr Spender, it is just part of the way students learn and “…is in fact a new and fast and obviously digital way of synthesising information.”

Wow. “Cut and paste” is now a “new and fast and obviously digital way of synthesising information.” Since it has big words and the meaning is unclear, I trust the reader can guess that “synthesizing information” is an Educationist term. It is. It’s what us normal folk call “learning.”

Seriously, what used to be “cheating” is now “learning.” How can there be any wonder that lies, fraud, and corruption are so dominant in the world today?

While real academics laugh at the insanity of redefining cheating to be learning, it’s no laughing matter. Administration controls what happens to cheaters, you see, and not faculty:

On two occasions, following discovery of plagiarism, a course coordinator gave the two students involved verbal warnings in the presence of a witness. On the third occasion, the students received a mark of zero for the plagiarised work and formal proceedings were instigated.

I’m all for second chances, but after three times (in the same semester!) of being caught cheating, it’s tough for students to say it was just a mistake. Almost certainly, these students were cheating in their other classes just as prodigiously, they just had the misfortune of running into one of the few educators left with any integrity.

In America, a faculty that caught cheaters like this would be punished. And how did administration in Australia respond to these three time losers?

The academic who instigated proceedings was then ordered to prepare and mark two new assessment items, a different one for each offender, to replace the one for which the students received zero.

So, the poor faculty member who caught the cheaters repeatedly is punished, and forced to create new assignments for the cheaters to “do.” No penalty at all for the cheaters. One can only hope the faculty member wasn’t so stupid as to check for cheating again, because I’m sure both students and faculty learned the lesson here.

The book has more to say:

…where a group of students have been caught cheating red handed and instead of faculty management pursuing the matter, the academics concerned were ordered to provide written apologies to the students for making their lives transiently uncomfortable…

Again, just more punishment for faculty that catch cheaters. As I’ve said before, faculty in the US get the memo early, “do not catch cheaters.” I imagine as word of the apology spread through the campus, other faculty there got the memo as well.

I’ve mentioned before that faculty no longer have much control over academics now, and I’ve cited a few cases where administrators have sold degrees (even Ph.D.s) and changed grades without faculty being consulted. Isn’t it neat that today you can become a professional expert simply by getting a rubber stamp from an administrator with no knowledge of the subject? Am I alone in seeing a possible problem here?

In Australia, this sort of fraud is just getting established:

“I had a student who was permitted to sit the same examination four times. The last attempt was almost a year after the first. On the final attempt I was ordered to mark but not grade the examination. By my count the student failed again but, upon examining their official academic record some time later, it was obvious that someone higher up the chain had awarded them a pass…”

–I too have seen students fail multiple times, only to have an administrator step in to grant that passing grade without faculty input.

It really won’t be long before an administrator realizes “having a student take a test 4 times is just wasting our time. Past this point, we’ll just grade all the tests themselves, instead of having unreliable faculty that actually know the subject do it.”

In a few years, if we start to see the same type of massive, overwhelming everyday fraud and corruption in Australia as we see in the United States, that would go a long way to advancing my conjecture: our best and brightest are being trained in higher education not to study and work their way to success, but to cheat in every way possible in a system that encourages it. What\’s going to happen when, someday, someone pulls back the curtain and we see just how much of the world is built on lies and illusion?