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EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title When the TA Suspects Cheating
Long Title When the TA Suspects Cheating
Contributor/Contact John Banja, PhD? (jbanja@emory.edu)
Contributor Details John Banja, PhD?
Director, Section on Ethics in Research
Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
CTSA Emory
Case Study Provided Probably the most common dilemma a TA experiences, other than grading exams and papers objectively and fairly, occurs when he or she suspects instances of cheating. Unfortunately, I had two such experiences during my days in graduate school under two different instructors. The first time it happened, I went to the course instructor and told her about my suspicions. The issue involved two students who obviously worked together on their lab reports although the instructions—which were explicit and exceptionless—forbade collaboration. When I showed the instructor the students’ papers, she frowned and said, “I’ll handle it.” The second time it happened—and, remarkably, the same kind of cheating: collaborating on a study when the students were instructed to work independently—the instructor told me to take care of it. This latter instance of cheating was even more blatant than the first, and I made up my mind to take it to the honor council. But when I told the instructor of my decision, he suggested I not go that route. He said that in his experience, these things are better handled privately, i.e., just between the students and the faculty. That’s what the first instructor did, incidentally, and I wound up doing the same thing: Having the students redo the assignment but turning in a lower, final grade for their deviating from instructions.

I was never satisfied with these approaches. Cheating is cheating and should, in my opinion, be formally addressed. If students only get a slap on the wrist, they learn that cheating is not as bad as it’s made out to be. And if they decide to have a career in science, a favorable attitude towards cheating is exactly what we don’t want them to develop. What are your thoughts?
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics No Data acquisition_management_sharing and ownership Topics
Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics No mentor and trainee responsibilities topics
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics No publication practices and responsible authorship topics
Peer Review Topics No peer review topics
Collaborative Science Topics No collaborative science topics
Research Misconduct Topics
Significance of misconduct,
Other serious deviations from scientific best practices,
Responding to observed misconduct
Conflicts of Interest, Law and Policy Topics No conflicts of interest_law_and policy topics
Human Subjects No human subjects

URL http://www.actsi.org/areas/erks/ethics/index.html
RCR Keyword

Other RCR Keywords Cheating; Deviating from Instructions; Expulsion; Faculty; Final Grade; Grading Exams; Grading Papers; Objectively and Fairly; Graduate School; Honor Council; Instructors; Lab Reports; No Collaboration; Penalty; Scholarly Integrity; Serial Cheating; Student; Suspension; Teaching Assistant; Work Independently
Type of Case

Source for Topic Areas Du Bois, J., & Dueker, J. (2009). Teaching and Assessing the Responsible Conduct of Research: A Delphi Consensus Panel Report. Journal of Research Administration, 40(1), 49-70.


Topic revision: r1 - 31 Oct 2011 - 17:53:28 - DebieSchilling
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