In late February, It was discovered by the SLA staff that pictures of a recent physics quiz were being circulated to juniors via text message. Once Principal Lehmann was informed, he sat down the entire junior class to discuss academic integrity and also informed them that the entire grade would be earning a “first strike” according to the policy. All juniors also had to retake the quiz over again.
To measure student opinion on the events and punishment, SLAMedia surveyed juniors, asking numerous questions about the situation and what happened. We asked them questions about what was fair in regards to the punishment, if they thought most of the juniors knew about what happened, etc.
The results of the survey overwhelmingly showed that a lot of students felt that the punishment was unfair while others thought the punishment was fair.
After reviewing the results of the survey, I then interviewed Mr. Lehmann, to see his view on the data that was presented to him and to see his reactions. Here are the questions and his answers below…
What are your reactions to the data?
I think what is interesting about it is that there is no negative thing if no one plagiarized and as we did investigation there were other instances of plagiarizing and that it was enough times that it required more of an action.
How do you feel about the fact that 93% of the students who answered number 2 said that students will not cheat regardless and that culture and trust doesn’t encourage it?
I think that is really important. That speaks to as a community that they are adult values and on some level it requires us to ask why did we see that the situation happened. I spoke to some students who admitted that they were in the text chain and said to me”when we were confronted about it, they felt like they let their school down” and when the whole class had to recognize what they did was wrong.
What would you like to say about the fact that only 19% of the students who answered number 3 said that they don’t think most the juniors knew about the cheating situation in Physics?
I don’t know. I am not sure. I think what is interesting is that I don’t know what to make of it. I will say that if even 20% of the kids knew that it was a widespread cheating going on why would they not say anything about it. If 25 kids in the junior class knew about it, what is the critical mass that no one did anything about it to say this is to much.
How does the subject of Physics make it more common for people to even think about cheating?
It depends on the thing. One, physics is known to be a hard class. Two, quizzes where there is a question with a right answer it makes it more common. We as a school can be understanding of it but it doesn’t make it acceptable.
Has anyone came to you before in past years about cheating in physics, or other subjects? If so, what was the situation that occurred?
Not in any widespread way. There has been plagiarizing but we haven’t been in any situation before where there are numerous people involved in such a widespread way.