]]]]]]]]]     DISGUSTING NOTES FROM HIGHER EDUCATION     [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
                         By Prof. Howard Hayden             (11/16/1988)

            When I give an exam in a large class, I use the computer  to
         generate several versions of the exam all of which look  alike,
         but for  which the  answers are  different.   The exams contain
         mostly problems, but the answers are A) 17 Joules B) 5.2 Joules
         ... etc.   Sometimes to make  the exams different  I change the
         input values in  the problem, and  sometimes I only  change the
         order of the answers.   The answer sheet is printed  along with
         the exam, and everything contains a "bar code" which associates
         the  answer  sheet  with  the  exam.    The  exams are shuffled
         together  before  they  are  given  to  the  students,  and the
         students always sit one empty seat away from each other.

            Some students decide  to copy the  answers from a  neighbor.
         They receive a  "monkey" score, in  this case about  1/6 of the
         maximum score, +/- a  little.  When I  see such a score,  I use
         the other  exam keys  to see  whether they  are just ordinarily
         stupid, or they were so stupid as to copy.  On the last exam  I
         had three (3) who definitely copied.

            Proper procedures call for notifying the student orally  and
         in writing, and notifying the department head the dean and  the
         Dep't of Student Affairs.  And now we come to the heart of  the

            Yesterday I met with  the department head, who  doesn't want
         me to  gobble up  everbody's time  in hearings  about cheating.
         (There are Mercedes  to polish!)   I am supposed  to --> NOTIFY
         <-- the students that the  exams are --> DIFFERENT <--  so that
         they will avoid cheating, rather than catch them after the deed
         is done.   Haven't I created  an attractive nuisance  by having
         all the exams look alike?  Shouldn't I use differently  colored

            It is the responsibility  of the professor to  keep cheating
         from happening,  not the  responsibility of  the student  to be

                                  Howard Hayden
                              Department of Physics
                            University of Connecticut

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