By Fouad Boulaid
By Fouad Boulaid
Morocco World News
Ifrane, Morocco, February 6, 2013
By and large, Moroccans have noticed that their friends, colleagues, and classmates, relatives and so on are cheating or lying at least occasionally. Some of these people cheat in their work, some about their demographic information, others in taxes, others in their personal relations, and some others cheat while playing any social game.
The academic area does not escape such a phenomenon; rather, it is pervasive. Many teachers and student have observed countless cases of researchers who falsified their findings. Hence, there is no surprise that a huge number of university students cheat as well.
To illustrate, cheating in the exams among Moroccan students has become pervasive in the late decades. Most teachers are familiar with many cases of students’ cheating. Within this framework, I have conducted an academic survey in the hope of highlighting the issue of cheating in the exam among university students. Thus, a questionnaire was administered to teachers and students and, simultaneously, other teachers and students were interviewed about their experience to exam cheating.
The result shows that most participants are frequently coming across the issue of cheating on exams among students though most candidates agree that cheating is unethical.
For example, Rachid (a 23 years-old student) does not deny that he has started cheating since he was at the secondary school. He and his classmates were used to xeroxing and minimizing all the lessons that were expected to be learned by heart. He adds that some of his friends used to stick small pieces of cartons to the bottom of the drawer before the beginning of the exam. The cartons, shaped in forms of small circles, were full of texts summing up the program’s lessons.
Aicha (a 25 years-old graduate) confirms that she used to write on her legs all the necessary data which may help in the day of the exam. Here, she was obliged to wear a skirt (even when it is cold) for the purpose of gazing at her data from time to time.
Abdelkader (a 21 years-old student) asserts that he used to fold up a long minute-thick paper (of ministry paper) into many compressed pleas and write down very tiny paragraphs for the sake of making use of them in the day of the exam. Here, he interleaves the long wrinkled paper beneath his fingers and each time turns into a new slide.
Merouane (a 23 years-old student) is aware that cheating is unethical and states that he has never done so. Yet, he is accustomed to many of ways his friends’ cheating such as writing down some formulas with pencil on the white side of the calculator and exposes it to light in the day of the exam to decipher all the hidden formulas.
Hafsa (a 22 years-old student) says that many students prefer to write short summaries on the tables of the exams just few minutes before the exam starts.
Safia (a 20 years-old student) notes that she had never cheated in any exam. She believes that one of the reasons that lead the students to cheat may be the low self-efficacy of the students.
Such views are also shared by teachers as proctors. For instance, Ahmed (a 25 years of teaching experience) says that cheating is going progressively rampant. He frequently notices students cheating via different ways. He remembers when the “ancient” way which students used to do, and he compares them with this new Web 3.0 generation that is using iPhones to browse for data. Yet, he rarely caught cheaters and when he did so he tolerated them.
Nabila (10 years of experience) thinks that exam sheets and cheating go hand in hand. According to her experience, cheating is like an exam’s shadow. Wherever and whenever an exam paper appears, a ghost of every sort of cheating comes to the surface. When she catches a cheater, she deprives him/her from the answering sheet and asks him/her instead to return an empty sheet. In this case, she does not need to submit a report and the student will not be sanctioned two years off.
Hicham (a five years experience) believes that there is no ideal class which goes without a cheating case. The first remark that was raised to his sight when he first begun proctoring is that several students wear leather jackets though the weather is very hot. This indeed implies that the jackets hide handouts and small papers which seem alert to any sudden exploit. Different categories of students, whatever they look like, are deemed to behave in the same manner when it comes to cheating. Here he remembers some cases of female students who either put on veil or wear miniskirts. Such students act and react in the same way, i.e. they make use of different tools of cheating and they beg for tolerance when they are caught.
Zohra (19 years of experience as an invigilator) swears that she will never catch any cheater whatever he does. She has made such a decision since she had a bad incident while she was proctoring undergraduate students in a large room. Once she discovered a male cheater taking small papers from his pocket, she caught him and reported him to the administration. He was stopped two years. Yet, throughout those two years, he kept harassing her to the point of touching her sometimes. She even complained to the administration and the police office but nothing was done against him. One day, he broke her car’s window and fortunately he could not injure her. The incident took place late in the evening when she was about to leave the university parking lot after she attended an international seminar. However, the suspect proved to have been outside the city.
Indeed, there are some people, especially those who think they have nothing to lose, who tempt to cheat by force either through verbal or physical menace. Lately, a student wanted to cheat by force when he was taking an exam in an auditorium. He even raised a knife in the face of the proctors. Yet, when he couldn’t touch anyone of them, he hurt himself. Then, he was evacuated to the hospital where he was scrutinized. Meanwhile, a group of teachers protested for an hour complaining about such a behavior which put the invigilator’s life into danger.
In short, the pervasiveness of the phenomenon of cheating and the fact that the outstanding forms of cheating, cited above, persist in spite of punishments and vast educational efforts to eliminate academic cheating, suggests that cheating at the university level cannot be seen as a trivial violation, performed merely by a an insignificant deviant actor.
To put it differently, if people who are important to the students, such as their teachers, classmates, and parents, do not blame them for cheating; rather, would believe they should cheat and encourage them while cheating, students’ desire to cheat will increase. As well, if students can access cheating instruments easily, they would be more likely to cheat than to answer honestly. Hence, cheating will be a habit which will affect the credibility of graduates’ diplomas.
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed