Monday, December 8, 2008

So eloquent and persuasive.

The concluding statement on the lab report I just finished grading, typos and all:

The resulted supported the idea that the levels would increase, due to that's what all the charts and tables showed us.

Hey, he's right. That is what the data "showed us".

However, the silver lining is the fact that I know that this student wrote this report. Not so with another. I am going through my first experience of having to penalize a student for plagiarism. By "I" I mean that the Man In Charge is taking care of the problem, but I discovered it and it is my student.

The Big Showdown is tomorrow morning, but so far the only response we've gotten from this student is "I apologize for the misunderstanding!" What misunderstanding??? When your paper is almost 70% identical to one from last year... yeah, that's plagiarism.

What would possess a person to plagiarize when they know they are submitting their paper to an online plagiarism scanning service? You know, aside from the fact that it is cheating and it is wrong?

Jeez. It is so stupid, too, because we've spent half the semester building up to this, which means all those drafts? Not theirs. All my comments and critiques? Completely ignored. As much as they should be in trouble for cheating, they should also be in trouble for wasting my time. And now, it will be on their permanent record. An F for the class and probation.

And to make matters worse, for some reason I have West Side Story music stuck in my head now:

We ain't no delinquents,
We're misunderstood.

Deep down inside us there is good!


Isis the Scientist said...

I really hate crap like this. I deal with a case of cheating last year and no one leaves the confrontation with anything less that a sour feeling. It was truly horrible.

Dr. J said...

Hi Grumpy, PhD. Only just noticed your blog, thanks to scientistmother, but I've added you to my GoogleReader to enjoy more.

The first set of scripts I ever marked, in fact maybe the first script I marked, had an amazingly blatant example of plagiarism in it. They had taken from Alberts' Molecular Biology of the Cell and it was about 70% copied and the bits that weren't were the bits that were wrong. The course leader asked me to highlight the plagiarised bits and it ran my highlighter right out of ink. Just amazing. They were unlucky in a way, it was only my over diligence with the first tutorial I had ever given that meant I had read everything I could get my hands that sinking, I've seen this before feeling set in.