Friday, February 12, 2010

Cheating on CS homeworks, and social pressure

The Temptation to Cheat in Computer Science Classes at Stanford is apparently great (just cut and paste some code if your assignment isn't running as the deadline nears), but the tools for catching this kind of cheating are also effectively automated.

"The number of honor code violations have prompted Professor Roberts to implement a new system. Describing this method as a “collective incentive” for students to maintain academic standards, the professor said he will add 5 percent for every honor-code violation in his class to the weight of the final exam, which is currently 15 percent of the class grade.
In other words, if one person cheats, the whole class will face more pressure on the final exam, because it will make up a greater portion of a person’s grade. Whether the scorn of fellow students is a bigger deterrent to cheating than being personally disciplined by the university remains to be seen."

1 comment:

kriish said...

There is a greater incentive than possible scorn from fellows. (In fact, in most universities names of cheaters are not published., so there would be no scorn at all.)

What this does provide is efficient incentive for two things: not providing your homework for a friend to copy (helping out is still ok and should be), and protecting your homework from stealing. At my time in the university, it was preposterously easy to search the entire student base home dirs - plenty of CS students had no idea about access control. The good thing was that us assistants had an easy seed list for copycat finder programs.