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March 25, 2013 | by  | in News |
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75 Sorry Excuses

Students only cheating themselves, university exams

According to recently released figures, Victoria University had the highest number of cheating students in 2012, with 75 students accused of academic misconduct.

Victoria was closely followed by AUT’s 66 students, 56 at Massey, 46 at Otago, 22 at Auckland, 20 at Lincoln, and 17 at Canterbury.

Students are becoming increasingly creative with their cheating methods as universities around New Zealand are cracking down on scamming students.  Academic misconduct includes a number of methods, such as writing notes on body parts, calculators, pencil cases and drink bottles, and copying off other students.

However, data aren’t measured in the same way. Alistair Shaw, Executive Director of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, thinks that universities’ differences in counts arise from how they catch cheating students. “The diversity in reported numbers between the institutions clearly indicates that institutions are capturing the data quite differently from one another, so the comparisons are meaningless,” he said.

Shaw also believes that punishments for academic misconduct are disproportionate between universities. “The most shocking part of the story: the report that at the University of Canterbury a student was sentenced to community service, and another ordered to do eight hours unpaid labour, where[as] at the University of Auckland a student was fined $250, where such fines can reportedly extend to $750.”

One Victoria University student who wishes to remain nameless remarked to Salient on how easy it was to get away with cheating during tests and exams. “In first-year Geology I used my calculator to store notes for some tests. They never made us clear the calculator memories so all the stuff we had to memorise was right there. It’s so easy and I’ve never been caught.”

Another student at Victoria admitted to academic misconduct via the VUW Confessions Facebook page. “Me and my friends have learnt morse code to tap help to each other for our exam next week,” the confession read.

Cheating in an exam can under Victoria University’s academic misconduct statute, result in a student failing a course and even being excluded from study.

Last week in the Indian state of Bihar, over 1600 of the 1.3 million students sitting state exams were expelled for cheating, with more than 100 parents detained for helping the students cheat.

Students accused of academic misconduct can use VUWSA’s free advocacy service, reachable on (04) 463 6984, 021 045 6214, or at  advocate@vuwsa.org.nz.

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