The University of Central Florida is investigating a claim that approximately a third of the 600 students in a senior-level business course cheated on a midterm exam.
Professor Richard Quinn said in a webcast of his lecture where he addressed his class that the test bank answer key to the exam was anonymously returned to his office this past Monday, sparking the cheating controversy.
“I also received e-mails from students who were concerned and upset that their peers had answers to the exam,” Quinn said in the webcast.
UCF Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Technology Taylor Ellis said a student purchased the exam answers online from the textbook publisher test bank.
“There was no breach of security at the school,” Ellis said.
Ellis said all UCF business school faculty have since been advised to remove all test banks that may be available online to ensure a cheating of this form doesn’t happen again.
He also said approximately one third of Quinn’s students came forward and admitted to cheating on this midterm exam.
However, it is unclear how many of those students received the test answers before taking the exam or simply referenced them after completing the test, Ellis said.
“At UCF we have a testing policy in which any exam can be taken whatever length of time the professor allows. This particular exam was open for five days, so we assume some students had ample time to review the answers they had,” Ellis said.
Quinn and the UCF dean of the business school have decided to provide another punishment for students who willingly come forth and admit to cheating on the midterm.
“If you turn yourself in, you will be able to complete the course, but you must attend a four hour seminar on academic ethics. If you do so, your record will be wiped clean,” Quinn said
The UCF Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities website includes the university’s “Golden Rule Student Handbook” to inform students of disciplinary actions taken toward students who are accused of academic misconduct.
The punishment for these acts ranges from a disciplinary warning to possible probation, suspension or expulsion.
“This is definitely the biggest act of academic misconduct that has ever occurred on this campus,” Ellis said.