El Jadida- How skillful are students at cheating nowadays? I just wonder why they don’t use their smart brains for studying and grasping what they learn in order not to fall into such embarrassing situations? Otherwise, isn't it just a Tom and Jerry game—like a performance for the cheater to see whether he or she can succeed in getting the supervisors’ legs, and the extent to which he or she can outsmart them?
El Jadida- How skillful are students at cheating nowadays? I just wonder why they don’t use their smart brains for studying and grasping what they learn in order not to fall into such embarrassing situations? Otherwise, isn’t it just a Tom and Jerry game—like a performance for the cheater to see whether he or she can succeed in getting the supervisors’ legs, and the extent to which he or she can outsmart them?
It’s this infuriating new interaction between candidate and supervisor that currently makes them both ill at ease, with the first thinking it his right to cheat and the other acting as if it’s his duty to foil it. Most often, it turns to dramatic scenes in which the elder becomes the younger’s victim; yet the former one condones the latter’s cheating act, as it’s accordingly a desperate expression of his eventual failure. Thus, the cheater does not suffer any consequences, especially after apologizing and trying to throw the fault on the teacher for not giving the lessons properly, or on the firm supervision of the exam in their class. Anyway, the justification itself proves to be the fruit of purposeful or unconscious levity.
My own experience with cheating is varied; fortunately, it has so far never turned to tragedy, as I have always prevented it with a sort of strategic handling of such situations. However, this time I found myself a part of a cheating complicity unknown to me.
I got into the classroom, as usual, with a smiling good morning and a short conversation about the former exam to make the candidates feel less tense. Then I reminded them of the ministerial instructions while handing out the draft and blank paper sheets, insisting that the candidates do not forget their exam numbers. I tried, as I always have, to put them in a state of confidence. After all, this is what should normally be done with more responsible candidates, but with the new brand of students trying to succeed with less effort, the supervisors are always alert, as if they have to get prepared for a battle. So they apply the strategy of frowning and not having any conversation with the candidates, lest they mistake it for cheating permissiveness. And most often, teachers also cheat by coming so late that they find that their co-supervisors have already settled everything, testing the students behavioral reaction to one teacher as well as that teacher’s reliability.
I happened to be alone doing all the work by myself! Fortunately, the students know of my firmness as well as my friendliness to them when necessary (I once wrote a poem entitled “to my students” while invigilating a baccalaureate exam, inspired by the students’ sense of responsibility and their calm concentration then). This time, I thought I ‘d have a similar chance by watching over a class of Math, Science students, reputed for their hard work and good behavior, which made it unlikely that they would cheat and unnecessary for me to fret about any undesirable incident. The exam started and no one took his or her eyes off the exam paper except to ask for a marker or an eraser, and I was glad to help, providing for the students’ comfort as much as I could.
But suddenly I felt that something was going wrong: there was one eraser circulating between them, and I was the messenger! I was just thinking of the matter when a student asked for the eraser—I reached to closest one but he said he wanted the other, then I reached for it and this time I had a look at it—a lot of Maths formulae were written on each side. When I held my eyes on the eraser, the students, looking at me, burst out laughing! This is how I was trapped in a cheating situation.
But since then, cheating strategies were improved, matching the technological changes in our lives, to the benefit of the students! Yet, are they reliable? If yes, how long is the assessment system going to take to respond to the cheating skills? Shouldn’t exams be devised in such a way that the candidates would rely on themselves instead of cheating?
Edited by Melissa Smyth
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