Here’s a great bit of reporting from a student named Miranda Paikowski at West Bend West High School.
On Jan. 14, Carmichael gave her students a long multiple-choice exam, allowing them to complete it in class the next day. One student decided to take advantage of the extra day, and wrote down a few questions from the exam with the intent of later searching for the test on the Internet. This particular individual came across the entire exam along with the answers.
Word spread fast.
It did not take long for both AP Stats teachers to realize that something was amiss with their students’ scores. On Jan. 15, they started to analyze the statistics. At least 12 out of 60 students in Carmichael’s class were suspected of using the unethical method to ace the exam. In the other AP Stats class taught by Todd Brahm in East, approximately 10 out of 80 students were also under suspicion.
OK, so far it sounds like a normal, if troubling, case of widespread cheating. This happens – especially when the test is online verbatim. Shame on the teacher for that. But then it takes a turn for the worse.
According to assistant principal Dave Uelmen, there could be no punishment given by the administration for the cheating incident, as this was the first offense for many of the participants. The decision of proper punishment was left to the statistics teachers. Both Carmichael and Brahm said that they wanted to avoid a harsh punishment.
Whoa, what? So these kids are caught blatantly cheating and there can be no punishment for a first offense? Are the rules somehow unclear about cheating? Is pulling the answers to a test from the internet some sort of grey area that might not count as cheating? These are 17 and 18-year-old kids in an AP class. They knew full well they were cheating and should be punished accordingly.
The student handbook says, “Any student caught cheating will receive a grade of zero on the assignment or exam.” I would hope that that’s the minimum punishment.