Some CUNY students seem to have mastered one online subject during the pandemic – cheating.
The head of Baruch College’s math department said he and his counterparts on other campuses found “scandalous” lack of academic integrity during recent exams, according to an email viewed by The Post.
The department chairs “and their faculty were overwhelmed by the amount of cheating, students coming into final exams with failing averages producing perfect or nearly perfect papers,” Professor Warren Gordon wrote in a May 27 missive to CUNY’s vice chancellor. “The mean and median scores on the final exams are well above normal.
“Some of our faculty found their exams on various online sites, including Chegg, students working together in chat rooms, or on Google Docs and the like, and then submitting the work as their own.”
Chegg is an online tutoring site that has been implicated in cheating scandals at other colleges including Boston University.
Gordon blamed the taxpayer-funded public university system for not doing enough to make electronic testing more secure after CUNY ended in-person classes on March 11 due to pandemic coronavirus and began virtual instruction on March 19.
“The university had at least three months to find a secure software that could have been used this semester, and at the eleventh hour decided not to use it,” Gordon wrote.
He warned that the cheating epidemic would only worsen.
“The summer and fall semesters are quickly approaching, it is likely that most of our courses will begin, and possibly remain online. The university must provide software that will improve the security of the examinations, ”wrote Gordon, who has chaired the Baruch math department for 35 years.
One Brooklyn College professor said he found rampant cheating with about one-third of his students plagiarizing on their final exam.
“It makes me respect the honest, hard-working students even more,” the prof told The Post. “In a sense, they are ‘the resistance.'”
CUNY said it did not go forward with online monitoring because of the fine print law. A software vendor required individual students to accept terms of the agreement rather than the university, which could have left students open to legal action. A CUNY committee is now looking into alternatives.
“The university takes allegations of cheating very seriously and requires any faculty member who finds there to be an act of academic dishonesty to immediately report the incident to their campus.” Academic Integrity Officer to impose the academic and disciplinary sanctions warranted. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges, but under no circumstance will cheating be tolerated, ”said CUNY spokesman Frank Sobrino.