Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cheating on a Different Level

Original Article - Cheating at graduate school

Teachers are responsible for designing methods that measure the achievement.
Higher Ed should re-think what and how to measure.

It is important to see if students understand the concept of adding numbers, but limiting their use of calculator in all math courses is ridiculous. Teachers are responsible for designing methods that measure the understanding — A homework assignment is a bad way of measuring understanding while the calculator-free in class test is a better one.

In the past, resources are limited and professionals are much relied on things they memorized and the limited resources they have at hand. Their career performance are limited in a similar way. These days, however, resources are abundance and the performance is no longer heavily linked to what people memorized rather than what information they can find and how well they can use it. Also, with the easiness of communication, consulting with their peer is part of the performance measure.

So. When instructors try to evaluate their students they have a lot to think about. For example, my students were never evaluated by their homework. They got unlimited opportunities to get their answer right and got full credits. They can talk to anyone. My idea behind it is that homework is a learning tool. It helps to clarify students’ thoughts. The test is the real measure of their achievement.

This world is evolving and higher ed suppose to be the one with forward thinking and vision. Let’s pay more attention to what should be measured and how should it be measured rather than counting on students’ ethic conducts, which, at least, is not what most instructors try to measure at the moment. So. Until the day we have integrity test established, we just have to know the limits and work around it.

In response to Prof. Manley,

Well. It seems that you have clear thoughts on the need of calculation devices of your students. That's great. Unfortunately, my point is simply to demonstrate that time has changed and resources available to students are growing and limiting students' use of these resources in their learning process is simply not justified.

Instructors are the one that can decide what to measure and how to measure it. In deciding on what to measure, they should take today's working environment into consideration. In deciding on how to measure it, they should device the test so that reliable measure can be made.

Devices, resources and even students' ethic are here to stay and instructors are the one that control the measuring process. Who else do you think that is responsible for the fail of the measurement? - I do not mean that threaten students with legal action is not an option, but we do need to think about the effectiveness of getting things done.

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