Course corruption

31st March 2006 at 01:00
I am very confused about what is and isn't acceptable practice when teaching and marking coursework. I was shocked recently to discover a colleague simply dictating a large and important part of one of her pupil's essays. When I questioned her about this later, she happily admitted to it.

I quote, "Everyone does it and it's what the students expect". I was dumbfounded and really feel like reporting her, but to whom? Is everyone in on it? My students are demanding the same thing of me and, if I don't deliver, they seem to think I am not a good teacher. They all seem to know where to get essays on the internet. I think I may have my first internet cheat to deal with. But how to deal with a cheat who may have actually been inculcated to be one?

In an ideal world coursework cheats come a cropper in the examination.

Reducing the marks awarded to coursework may help to balance things out.

Don't get caught up in bad practice and take solace in the fact that the heat is being gradually turned up on this issue. Targets play a role in this matter, increasing the pressure on organisations to improve results.

The question is, at what cost? Colleagues in HE are already seeing the result of students coming through utterly incapable of putting together a cogently argued essay or able to think independently. Beyond college and university are the employers who are relying on and ,in some cases paying towards, applicants with a good educational standard. We are in danger - in fact, it is already upon us - of becoming a society with a corrupted educational foundation.

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