your cheating heart will tell on you

ok, so a couple of weeks ago, i gave the chapter 12 test on permutations, combinations and probability. at the time, i made 4 forms: a, b, c, and d. altho' the problems were different, they were in essence the same, one having them evauate say, 10P2 and another 7P5. you get the idea. so when i grade the tests, i dont use the answer key, because i look for the correct process more than i look for the right answer, if they did everything right then forgot to carry the 1, well ill deduct a point, but im not gonna be a hard ass. anyway, there was this one question which was something like "how many 3 card hands can you deal from a standard 52 card deck?" ans = 52C3. anyway, while i was grading it i noticed that three boys who all had form C made the same two mistakes in the same exact way on the exact same problem. at one point, they had to divide 52 by 4 and they ALL put 12. on top of it all, they werent really supposed to divide by 4. in fact, i dont understand why they were trying to divide by 4 in the first place. but the fact that they all divided by 4, then all got 12 (not 13!) stunk like fish. so i spoke to them individually and i said, "what do you think this looks like to me? does this look like a statisical improbability? mind you, this is what we just finished studying, so answer carefully." well one denied it, and one lowered his head and said, "it looks like we cheated ma'am." the other was absent for about 2 weeks after that. anyways, since they all scored about 52%, i told them that since i couldnt prove that they cheated, that i hadnt caught them red-handed, that i would be happy to let their fails stand as is. i also told them: "if you are going to cheat in my class, i would appreciate it if you didnt insult my intelligence. either learn to cheat correctly, cheat from someone who knows what theyre doing, or, better yet, study hard and so your own work. i will be scrutinizing your work in the future so please do not give me any more reasons to be suspicious." they didnt really say anything, since they knew that if i *had* caught them red-handed that they would be suspended, possibly expelled if i felt like being a total bitch. anyway, this is the prologue.

so tomorrow is the last day to turn in any make-up work, and so a few students are trying to make up any quizzes and tests they missed. one girl needed to make up the chapter 12 test. now this was a hectic time for me, as i was in the throes of my PACT and had very little tme and was a mess. so when she asked me to make it up, i couldnt find the tests! so very quickly i made up a new test. even though it was still called form B, it had absolutely none of the same problems as the originial form B. can you see where this is going? so this girl didnt even bother looking at her test (i should mention that they are reviewing for their final, so they have a few options this week: a) work on make up homework (im nice like that), b) work on review problems as classwork (if they already turned everything in and need to review, i dunno, synthetic division, and c) take make up tests and quizzes. so anyway, what i think is that she had asked her frends in the class for their different forms and kept them handy. since its been hectic, i trust them on the honor system: here it is, go sit over there and take it. so she turned it in and i graded it today. well, as i said, i never use the answer key. so as im correcting it, she had a problem like 10C1 and it looked like she evaluated 9C7. so i thought i was losing my mind. evey problem was wrong, but i knew they were familiar. so i looked thru my stuffs and found a form B from another student. and eureka. caught. so i took her outside today and asked, "tell me, whose test did you copy?" and she gets this attitude and says, "why do you think i cheated just cos i got every question right?" and i said, "no, see, thats where you're wrong. you got every question right, save two of them: the one which happened to use the same numbers and the one which everyone had gotten wrong and you asked me to help you on." so i explained what had happened and how i knew. i also told her, "you got 4/30 points. im going to let you have those 4 points." i didnt tell her this part: i think she insulted me by cheating and i think its more insulting to give her those 4 points than if i gave her a big fat 0. i dont want to sound petty or anything, but cheating raises my bile to my throat.

so in conclusion, in the future, i am going to make several tests, label them randomly either A, B, or C and see who does their own work and who doesnt. how beautifully machiavellian.