Harvard Investigating Massive Cheating Scandal Involving 125 Students

This could be one for the Ivy League history books. Harvard is reportedly investigating a widespread instance of cheating that involves more than 125 undergraduates.

Jay Harris, Harvard’s Dean of Undergraduate Education, says it appears to involve nearly half of a class of 250 students. The Boston Globe is reporting that “independent groups of students appear to have worked together by e-mail or other means on responses to short questions and an essay assignment, violating a no-collaboration policy that was printed on the exam itself.”

It all started when a teaching fellow noticed too many similarities to be a coincidence. It’s a little different from a standard plagiarism investigation though because no outside sources appear in the students’ work. The work actually appears to simply have information that’s either identical or “too close for comfort” according to Harris.

The students whose tests were flagged as problematic — nearly two percent of the college’s 6,700-some undergraduates — have all been notified and will appear before the board individually in the next few weeks, Harris said. Some may be exonerated, but those found guilty could face a range of punishments up to year-long suspension. – The Boston Globe

In a statement, Harvard president Drew Faust said that the allegations, “if proven, represent totally unacceptable behavior that betrays the trust upon which intellectual inquiry at Harvard depends. … There is work to be done to ensure that every student at Harvard understands and embraces the values that are fundamental to its community of scholars.”

More information is developing on this story but be sure to check out the Boston Globe’s extensive writeup of the investigation. You may also find an article on Edudemic interesting ‘How Has Technology Affected Cheating?’