Fix 4: don’t punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement.
Ahh cheating. I think the longer you have been teaching the stronger (or weaker depending on age) your opinion is on this. My colleague, gentleman in his 50’s, is a very firm believer that cheating results in zero and you have made your bed, now lie in it. For myself, I agree with Ken and still want to actually measure how much the kid knows, not how bad his decision making is or how desperate he is. So check off Fix 4: I have never reduced marks when busted academic dishonesty. BUT I do have a confession…
When I prepare my reassessment, I do let emotions get the better of me a little bit. Firstly, making a new test is a huge undertaking. I spend a lot of time on assignments and tests, I rarely just copy the one from last year or “tweek” the version I saved in the test bank. So chewing up my precious time to make a new test, when the student didn’t care to take the time to study or pay attention in class does upset me. Also being lied to by a student, to be honest with you, hurts my feelings. As such I don’t give cheaters zero but I do make my reassessment WAY more difficult than the original test. So I don’t reduce marks, per say, but if it is a strong student helping a weak student I make sure they get a bit of a hit academically, and then also in their work habits mark too.
Does this make me a bad teacher? I found it interesting. When I was finishing off my BEd we had one final big paper to write. One of the teacher candidates plagiarized on her paper. Everyone was really shocked, and I’m not sure how my university chose to deal with it. I’m sure her own guilt and the lack of glowing reference letters was punishment enough.