Test Ethics Question

  1. 0
    in my psych nursing class, we have three tests and one final, cumulative exam. it is an 8 week course so we essentially have tests every two weeks. it is a crowded auditorium type classroom and almost every seat is filled during each lectures and tests.

    on the first test, about two or three weeks ago, i finished my test and one of the professors proctoring the exam came around to collect it as per usual. typically, there are two of our professors who walk around and proctor the exams and collect tests when they see you are done. when the test is complete, you are to sit at your seat and remain there for the duration of the test. we are given 60 minutes to complete the test and i finished with about 10 minutes to spare.

    as the stopwatch continued to wind down, i turned around to look at the clock to see what time it was. i noticed that three students, who always sit together in a row behind me were muttering quietly under their breath and seemingly, comparing answers. we use 50 item scantrons for the tests but they pass out the actual tests as well that we put our name on and can also write on. it seemed like they were leaving their tests open rather than folded/flipping the page back and marking their answers on the test before transferring the answer to the scantron. that is something i do myself but i definitely fold the page back as it is a stapled 8 page exam and that way, no one is tempted to see what answer i marked on the test before putting it on a scantron. i saw them, somewhat blatantly, pointing at the test with their pencils and discretely whispering and looking at each other. even if they weren't sharing answers, students should not talk to each other during the exam, at least that's what most codes of conduct state.

    in any case, this was all happening during the last few minutes of the exam when the two proctoring professors were walking around and collecting student exams individually. i realize their eyes cannot be everywhere and i don't find fault with them for not seeing this behavior. my question is, i have seen this TWICE now. the first time i saw it, i struggled with saying something but ultimately decided not to. now, after seeing it again, i am contemplating sending an anonymous email to the psych nursing faculty. i don't want to be named or part of any investigative process, i merely wish to inform and not accuse as i have no proof these students were cheating, i just know what i saw.

    what im looking for on here is opinions. we have one test left and then a final, cumulative exam. do i send the email? do i mind my own business and just not turn around to look at the clock so i don't see them doing what they do? keep to myself and not mention this to anyone else? finish the class on a high note and hope i never have a class or clinical with them? i realize that in nursing, you sometimes have to work with people whose standards are less than yours and are at times, less than ethical. i realize that a good nurse adapts to his or her situation, and makes the best of it, and does their best to stay positive. i also realize, that a good nurse will speak up if something is unethical and will advocate for their patient, etc. like i said, i don't want to cause trouble but the thought that IF these students were cheating will one day be caring for patients is frightening.

    perhaps i am a fool for not reporting it the first time i saw it or perhaps i am being a busybody and should just keep my eyes to the front of the class. in either case, i saw what i saw and now i am unsure what to do.

    thanks for your time, allnurses.com! hope to talk to you soon!
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  3. 42 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    Since you've seen it happen twice, I would say something. No, you don't have proof they're cheating. But the proctors need to be aware this is occurring. No one should be talking or collaborating on an exam.
    LadyFree28 and Kandy83 like this.
  5. 3
    As much as I loathe cheating, I would probably let this go. Who knows if they reap any benefit from this collaboration anyway? My guess is that none of them can be altogether too confident in their work if they're taking risks like this. Maybe they're all poisoning one another. That wicked thought gives me the fuzzies.

    Now if I saw something completely outrageous like an answer key, I'd be hella mad and call it out.
    Heathermaizey, vianne, and vanessaem like this.
  6. 6
    I would have to mention to the instructor that, at the very least, the conversations are distracting to other students. In the end, you are there for YOUR grade, no one else's, so do not over-react. Do not align with those students either, as they may be being monitored without your knowledge.
    MelpyRN2B, vianne, psu_213, and 3 others like this.
  7. 2
    Quote from Krzysztof
    As much as I loathe cheating, I would probably let this go. Who knows if they reap any benefit from this collaboration anyway? My guess is that none of them can be altogether too confident in their work if they're taking risks like this. Maybe they're all poisoning one another. That wicked thought gives me the fuzzies.

    Now if I saw something completely outrageous like an answer key, I'd be hella mad and call it out.
    I'm with Krzysztof. I'd let it go. All the individuals are doing is cheating themselves and yikes...maybe the patients[although I doubt they would pass Nclex anyway] in the long run. As long as they're not cheating off of you, I wouldn't worry about it. In my experience, the people that cheated their way though school ended up not doing well when it mattered most.
    KelRN215 and Krzysztof like this.
  8. 1
    I wouldn't call them out on cheating just because you can't 100% prove thats what it was..those are some pretty ballsy students to cheat that obviously.. If they do it again the next test I'd just tell the proctor a couple of students have been chatting during the last few minutes and distracting you.
    Krzysztof likes this.
  9. 3
    Call them out be anonymous. This didn't happen only once. If it happened once I would say let it go. But it happened twice. It is your duty to call them out. Professors hate that students watch others students cheat and they watch them helplessly.
    MelpyRN2B, Krzysztof, and GrnTea like this.
  10. 14
    If the faculty knows who they are they can check their answer sheets to see if they all match, too. I like the "There's a lot of whispering and page rattling in the back row-- it's so distracting. Could you please ask them to stop?" approach.
    emtb2rn, MelpyRN2B, P B and J, and 11 others like this.
  11. 3
    Quote from GrnTea
    If the faculty knows who they are they can check their answer sheets to see if they all match, too. I like the "There's a lot of whispering and page rattling in the back row-- it's so distracting. Could you please ask them to stop?" approach.
    GrnTea has a way of making me rethink my stances on things. Curses!
    Madras, SopranoKris, and GrnTea like this.
  12. 1
    Don't say names. Don't even accuse people of cheating. Do what GrnTea suggested and say that the noises are distracting.
    Wise Woman RN likes this.


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