: Tolerating cheaters deserves 'F' for flaky


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eljay
2007-06-26, 09:51 AM
From this article (http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=057c53be-ebf7-48ce-b46e-fea7ede3668e) in today's edition of The Ottawa Citizen:Ottawa public school trustees are being asked to approve a student evaluation policy tonight that will lead to more lax guidelines on plagiarism and late work by this fall. Staff will write those guidelines and trustees will have no further involvement in the issue after tonight's meeting.

School superintendent Jennifer Adams explains that modern educational theory suggests students should be marked on the work they complete, not on what they fail to do.

That's why, when a student is caught plagiarizing, "we're saying it shouldn't be an automatic zero," Adams says.

Even if there were a zero, it wouldn't lower the student's average, which will be based on the work that was complete.

"It's not a zero in the old way, where we used to think of things as averages," Adams says.Amazing. Then again, this type of thinking is very much in practice all around us: deadlines have become "target dates"; taking "full responsibility" is meaningless; and if your "mission" is never actually "accomplished", you can't be given a zero for your failure...I mean, your "best efforts". :rolleyes:

otown47
2007-06-26, 10:01 AM
Yes I heard this too this morning eljay.......another retrogressive move from our school system....:( Pretty soon they'll be changing the word "school" to country club.....

There's a poll going on at cfra.com where you can see what the population thinks about the idea.....

eljay
2007-06-26, 10:25 AM
Yeah, I caught the morning show, too. (I listen to it each workday.) I'm surprised to see that the poll numbers are only at ~78% for "automatic zero".

Breadbin
2007-06-26, 11:09 AM
We've been working hard the last couple of years to teach our 6th grader that work has to be done and handed in, that copying and pasting from internet sources is not acceptable, that taking a zero is not okay. And then the schools want to make all that seem legit?

"Oh dear, you copied someone else's work or just decided not to bother at all. Never mind, have another go!"

It's bad enough at our school with the extracurricular stuff (3 non-educational school trips last week!) and sports that they get pulled out of class for. Our eldest figured out a couple of years ago that she should just sign up for *every* activity available because most of them will mean having to miss classes at some point. It drives me nuts because if you stop them then you're not being supportive enough. I'm happy for my kids to get into sports, but not at the expense of their basic education.

I'm getting tired of the lax attitude towards actual learning that I perceive. I don't know what other schools are like. Are they all like this?

57
2007-06-26, 11:21 AM
There was an article in the Globe recently about how few children now fail in the lower grades. Apparently, despite having "failed" the grade, the students are allowed into the next grade and allowed to "make up", etc.

It has been shown that this is apparently better for most students, because it allows them to stay with their peers and doesn't label them as a "failure", thereby allowing them to go further in school than if they had been failed.

I know it runs counter to what many of us "old school" people think is the correct thing to do, but apparently it works better than failing and it does also make a bit of sense.

Once you get to High School, you must pass the various courses and get so many credits, but as we know, that "bar has been lowered" there too - again, to keep kids in school, apparently again because it's better for them to be there than in the streets.

Icemann
2007-06-26, 11:28 AM
Okay, I can see the logic behind what 57 is saying but plagiarizing is cheating and should be dealt with harshly.

Q
2007-06-26, 11:29 AM
I would have to agree that failing and staying in the same grade could cause a lot of tension and actually allowing them to follow there peers would probably be better. HOWEVER........this better be at some cost. If it becomes the Norm then you have created a bigger problem.

Luis_A51
2007-06-26, 11:29 AM
I think the biggest problem with this is that Universities will never adopt this philosophy and then when these kids try to cheat in one of their university classes because they think "its ok" they're going to be in for a harsh surprise.

Considering how easy it is to "copy/paste" a paper from the internet, they shouldnt make it MORE appealing to these kids. We should strive to teach young children the best we can. Teach them that cheating is not ok, that deadlines really are deadlines, that education is extremely important. If kids think copying is ok and deadlines arent important we'll have a future devoid of entrepreneurs, of visionaries and of truly hardworking people. If in the real world they dont have to live up to the standards they were taught in school so be it, no harm done.

eljay
2007-06-26, 11:35 AM
Make failure an acceptable outcome and you remove the motivation to do better. Eliminate negative consequences / punishment for cheating and you shift - for the worse, in my opinion - the accepted line between right and wrong.

Luis_A51
2007-06-26, 11:38 AM
Haha I may have that "old school" mentality, but im fresh out of university.

I can see some logic behind the mindset of more leniant standards early on (elementary) getting more stringent as they progress to highschool and on to higher education (Uni or trade schools) for the sake of keeping more kids in school at the lower levels, in the hopes that they will progess into high school and beyond. But I also believe it will teach them bad habits that will be much harder to break. Also I believe that those who fail should only be allowed to proceed if they make it up in some form of supplemental examination. If they pass, let them proceed, if they dont, then too bad for them, make them take the class/year over.

Breadbin
2007-06-26, 12:24 PM
The notion of holding kids back to repeat a whole school year is quite strange to me, having been schooled in England where there was apparently no such concept (not in the schools I attended anyway).

We didn't seem to have the levels of illiteracy that I'm seeing now in 10-15 year olds. I'm not going to try and say we had a better school system, just a different one.

I think there may be a lot of other fundamental things going wrong in schools that may have far more effect than simply the question of holding kids back.

I've seen the level of work that's been expected out of our 6th grader this year and it's been pitiful at times. She comes home most nights with her homework already done because she finished her regular work and had some spare time at the end of class. She's bright but not exceptional to the point where the teachers are running out of work for her. It's simply that they're not expected to work very hard.

And if there's no homework to be done they'll give them "busy work". Yes, at age 12 we still get wonderful pieces of artwork to stick on the fridge, masterful studies in photocopier and crayon.

When I was age 12 we were already getting at least a couple of hours homework every night, not completing 3 math questions where you simply have to identify which fraction is larger than another! At age 12 we started algebra and trigonometry!

Now it's all about setting the standards low enough to allow everyone to succeed.

jvincent
2007-06-26, 12:40 PM
Having just attended my son's grade 6 graduation yesterday, I figure I'll wade in.

IMHO, that policy is a total crock. Yes, schooling is very different from when we went through the system but they still need to learn what is right and what is wrong.

My kids (12 and 8) use the computer to research their projects. When they cut and paste directly into their work they get told, by us, that it's not allowed. Unfortunately, there are way too many parents who will let it slide and if their kid were to get a zero would raise hell with the teachers/principals. So in the end, the schools end up caving.

It's really just another example of the schools taking the brunt for lack of discipline at home.

We see lots of kids who know that they can get away with anything because of the various zero-tolerance programs. In my day, the bad kids would have just gotten a pounding at recess/lunch and that would have been that.

Breadbin
2007-06-26, 01:08 PM
Lack of discipline and standards at home is a factor, yes, but I don't see that absolving the schools completely as you're suggesting. There's plenty of blame to be shared around.

We're trying very hard to instill discipline and standards at home but I don't feel like we're getting the same support from the school at all.

IMHO if the schools let their standards drop then parents in general are not going to force the issue. It should the be other way around. If the schools stick to their guns and expect high standards then the majority of parents might follow suit.

There will always be those idiots who complain because their kid got an F or got in trouble, regardless of whether their kid was at fault. They're in the minority and most qualified principles should be able to deal with them.

hockeymancw
2007-06-26, 01:16 PM
Here are some of my own personal thoughts:
I can see some logic behind the mindset of more leniant standards early on (elementary) getting more stringent as they progress to highschool and on to higher education (Uni or trade schools) for the sake of keeping more kids in school at the lower levels, in the hopes that they will progess into high school and beyond. But I also believe it will teach them bad habits that will be much harder to break. Also I believe that those who fail should only be allowed to proceed if they make it up in some form of supplemental examination. If they pass, let them proceed, if they dont, then too bad for them, make them take the class/year over.

Sorry Luis, I thought it would have been funny

The schools do not have a reason to make changes to the policy unless there are pressures from some source. I think this falls back on the parents since a lot of them are not willing/able to put in the time required to teach their kids that unpleasent things happen when you deviate from socitey's norms. I hear parents complain that the schools expect too much from the kids and that some classes won't even allow cell phone use during class! These vocal parents fought, and won, to get cell phones allowed in schools so their kids can call and text each other during class. They don't want to hear that little Johnny/Susie is going to get a zero for plagarism, I have heard parents justify and try to explain the plagarism from their kids. It is rediculous. No one wants to see their kid fail a grade, but sometimes it is necissary to have a minor failure so you arent setting the kid op for a major failure in high school.

I think one of the biggest problems is that parents don't want to see their kids have hurt feelings. This type of behaviour has led to kids wanting instant gratification and lack of vision for consequences of actions. Parents reinforce this by getting a 12 year old a cell phone, getting a 16 year old a new car, and another new car after they smash the first one. These teachings are now trickling down to the school system where everyone has to win at school sports and everyone has to pass, just so there are no hurt feelings. I recently attended a high school volleyball game, and both teams were required to cheer after each point. I had to ask why both teams were cheering the others' points, and the response was that, "We don't want our players to make the other teams players feel bad".

We are losing the competition amung the students because no one wants to lose, but it is an unavoidable part of adulthood, that these kids are not learning. We are now heading into dangerous territory as these kids will be in the workforce in 10 years. Not penalizing plargarism is just another step in the wrong direction.
Whew

jvincent
2007-06-26, 01:22 PM
There will always be those idiots who complain because their kid got an F or got in trouble, regardless of whether their kid was at fault. They're in the minority and most qualified principles should be able to deal with them.

I'm continually surprised at the crap that teachers and principals face.

When in the past our son has done something "bad" at school that gets reported, we have made him write an apology to the teacher. Come parent/teacher interview time we have been told that we are part of the very, very small minority that does this and that as a general rule they (teachers/principles) get very little support on the discipline front.

The worst part of it is that he's actually one of the better behaved kids. His problems are usually the result of him reacting to something in what is not necessarily the right way. On a positive note, because the staff know we don't let stuff slide, he tends to get the benefit of the doubt in those situations.

57
2007-06-26, 02:46 PM
Eliminate negative consequences / punishment for cheating and you shift - for the worse, in my opinionAlthough negative consequences and punishment may have an occasional role to play in bringing up children, most people realize the benefits of positive reinforcement for things well done (not simply done). The achievements would, of course vary, depending on the capabilities of the child. For example 70% may be a cakewalk for one child while being a significant achievement for another.

eljay
2007-06-26, 02:59 PM
I agree that positive reinforcement should be used to reinforce achievement and good behaviour, but I don't agree that it should also be used to avoid punishing people for negative behaviour.

In some areas in the government, management is awarded a bonus for good performance, and is awarded no bonus for poor performance. "No bonus" does not represent an appropriate consequence for poor performance - docked pay and/or a reprimand do.

If little Johnny does poorly (because of lack of effort, not because of a legitimate learning disability) or cheats a few times, I don't believe that the best way for mommy and daddy to deal with it is to simply not buy him gifts and hope he'll get the message.

Luis_A51
2007-06-26, 03:06 PM
I was talking about how from a theoretical point of view, I can see some logic. However I in no way indorse that viewpoint.

I feel that this is not the way to go. Parents arent taking responsibility, teachers arent taking responsibility and in the end the children's education suffers. Who can possibly argue that allowing kids to cheat without harsh penalties will somehow make them better students in the long run? If you give them low standards to strive for at a young age, then how can you expect them to strive for high standards when they're older?

People should stop being so afraid to hurt someones feelings.

Luis_A51
2007-06-26, 03:50 PM
57

I think people expect too much from positive reinforcement. I believe that proper education requires BOTH positive reinforcement for bad behaviour AND punishment for bad behaviour. The concepts of rewards and consequences are essential.

As a co-worker just stated " let there be no questions lingering as to what is proper and what is not"

hugh
2007-06-26, 04:11 PM
Staff will write those guidelines and trustees will have no further involvement in the issue after tonight's meeting.

This just in... Apparently no one knew the webpage to cut the guidelines from so it may not happen ;)