Believe me, they are out there. When I took my first teaching job, fresh out of grad school many years ago, at the community college nearest my home, I caught a student cheating on an exam in my MSIII course. The only reason it turned up in my course was because I was the only instructor in the program who didn't write straight multiple-choice exams -- I always thought those were boring when I was in school, so I've always used a combination of multiple-choice, matching, T/F, short answer, etc. Well, if two people sitting next to each other in class have the same string of answers on a multiple choice exam, no one thinks anything of it, but when they have the same word-for-word paragraph on a short-answer question, that's pretty obvious. My director and I called the two students in, separately, and confronted them, and it wasn't hard to figure out which one had done the copying/cheating. I was expecting that she would be kicked out of the program, but it turned out (to my surprise) that the college's policy was that "the first bite is free" -- the first time you get caught cheating on an exam, you get told you're not allowed to do that and mustn't ever do it again, and get a 0 for the exam, but you didn't get kicked out. She barely squeaked by with the 0 on the one exam and remained in the program; she was going to be in my class the next quarter, but I figured, hey, surely
she wouldn't have the nerve to cheat again, after I had just caught her this time. Weeeelllllllll, by golly, she cheated again (not on an exam; this time it involved clinical paperwork), and this time I was able to kick her out. After the first time, many
students had come up to me and thanked me for catching her and holding her accountable; they said she had been cheating all the way through her prerequisites and the first year of the nursing program
, they had been telling other faculty about it all that time, but no one had ever done anything about it.
The sad thing was that she was plenty bright and capable enough to do well on her own; if she had just put as much effort into doing the work as she did into figuring out ways to cheat, she would have been doing fine. Instead, she got kicked out for cheating a few months before graduation.
I had another student the following year who turned in a paper written by someone else, and it was just pure bad luck on her part that I attended the same BSN-completion program a few years earlier as the person who had written the paper, and I recognized the paper as having been written for an assignment for the BSN-completion program (it didn't really fit the assignment given to my students very well, which is what first caught my eye). I contacted the folks at the uni and asked if they would take a look at the paper, they passed it around after I faxed it to them, and, sure enough, one of the faculty members there recognized it as having been written by a student in their program. My director and I confronted the student, and she admitted the paper had been written by someone she worked with. Again, she got a 0 for the assignment but didn't get kicked out of the program, but the 0 pulled her grade down far enough (she didn't have a high average to begin with) that she flunked out at the end of the quarter. If she had just written her own paper and gotten a C on it (and it would be extremely unlikely that I would give a lower grade than that for a paper), she would have been okay. Instead, she flunked out a few months before she was supposed to graduate.