Recently, several media outlets reported allegations of widespread cheating during UoA’s online exams. Anonymous student sources accused other students of messaging and collaborating during their exams. Student reactions have been mixed; some are infuriated snitches had exposed their cheating “secrets”, others are concerned about the legitimacy of these assessments. Professors have also questioned whether these online exams effectively measure a student’s success in a course. We asked students to weigh in on the cheating scandal and for their thoughts on what the university should do going forward.
Ethan*, 18, Science
In my hall, I saw lots of people cheat. People working together, actually doing the exam together, sending answers to each other. In a hall, it was a lot easier for people to cheat, because you live there and so many people are around you. I think that online exams are unfair because it lowkey isn’t a test of what you know, it is so easy to just google the answers and shit. It was definitely tempting to cheat especially in halls because people were doing the same exam. I don’t think UoA should have online exams unless it is absolutely necessary, e.g. we are in Level 2 or 3. I just found it a bit pointless having them online.
James*, 18, Arts
I saw cheating happen during my exam, and I know people who sat the exam with other students and discussed their answers. I found that the format of the exams and the difficulty of the questions were altered because of the fact that many of them were open book assessments. I felt that the way we were assessed in my own exams was still a good reflection of our understanding and preparation. However, for multi-choice exams, I feel this could be altered as in an online setting it allowed for more collaboration between students. So I wouldn’t say that the approach as a whole needs to be changed, just the way some exams are assessed.
Anna* 19, Medical and Health Sciences
I had exams both in person and online, and I found that the online exams were questioned differently to the in person exams and therefore you had to answer differently. Although it might be easier to write a better answer in an online exam, it doesn’t necessarily mean your grade will be better as I found that the grading of my online exams was harder. I guess if UoA wants to change their exam format they can, I’m not really too phased as I only had two online exams and sat them both at home. I didn’t feel the need to cheat as my online exams were open book, so it seemed worthless to collaborate with others when I could just google it or look at my notes.
Melanie* 20, Global Studies
I didn’t really see cheating happen but I heard that a few of my friends had collaborated together via messages and chats. It didn’t faze me though, I just did my own thing and since I had all my notes with me, talking to others seemed pointless. I don’t think the online exams were unfair, all of mine were open book, but I definitely didn’t feel the need to study super hard for them because I had many resources I could refer to. UoA could change their approach to exams but I don’t really know how they would do that. With COVID-19 I think it is super hard to plan in advance and make executive decisions about whether the exams should be online or in person. I also think it would be hard to monitor the online exams if they were closed books, so I’m not sure how these exams will look in the future.
*Students’ names have been changed.