Keeping Students informed
This is a very hot issue in the minds of several of your students right now. I would have to agree with both Joe and David's posts. I also, would have to completely disagree with the other 7 comments. It is obvious to me, as an affected student (that yes, does know the whole story) that Joe and David are also students, and most likely involved.
I would like to start out by clearing the slate, this was the fault of several different people. The student that cheated, this students friends, the students who told, the teacher, and you, the principal.
This sounds harsh, however, you have a responsibility to protect all of your students, and you have failed to do this. You asked 4 students to trust that you and the teacher would handle this properly, this is something that you have not done. You offered these responsible, honest students a solution that they agreed to, thinking that action would be taken. However, when they got to class the next day, this CHEATER still had the 100. For you to say that this is not CHEATING because anyone could have done it is outrageous! This attitude has lead to numerous students stating, "I guess I was just too stupid to go cheat." To have students responsible enough to come to you and say, "There is a problem and I need you to take care of it" is, a blessing, especially when in regard to something as serious as CHEATING on a mid-term exam. To say to these students, "Trust me and I will" and then not, is a lie.
Before I continue, I would like to make it known that the student that was promised a solution, who gave you their word that they would drop it, has. This is now other students coming to you in frustration at the lack of respect you showed those 4 honest students. I hope that you realize that had you taken action when you promised that you would, this would not be continuing almost 3 weeks later.
Throughout this whole ordeal, blame has been placed on a variety of people, as I mentioned above, this is just. However, the blame is being thrown around so that there has been no conclusion. I would like to refer back to one of your personal comments, "One of my requests is that they completely align the mid terms with the Regents" (Cheating or Initiative) As a principal, I would imagine that you are familiar with the regents guidelines. One of our responsibilities as a student is to sign a proclamation stating that we had no prior knowledge of the test questions and no assistance in answering said questions. It is true that the teacher violated this in administering the same test for 3 days, however, he did not provide the answers. So yes, everyone of these students were wronged by having to sign these with having seen the questions in advance to their answering them, however one student signed having received not only the test but also the answers. If this is not CHEATING, it is at least lying and violating the rules given to every high school student in the entire state. Why is this OK for one Gowanda student? In an actual Regents exam, this students test would have been confiscated and destroyed. All that the students who did not CHEAT asked was that this student take another exam. The teacher offered to change the numbers in the same problems and re-test this CHEATER.
Had this student truly earned a 100, they would have no problem re-taking the exam. In fact, it would have been a proud moment for them to prove their intelligence. This student would have undoubtedly gained several apologies and respect. By arguing this re-take, I feel that it reinforces the accusation of CHEATING.
In respect to Joe's comment "the only reason that this person did this is to improve their class rank." (comment 8) No, I do not credit this act as one based solely on class rank. However I am well aware that the student that CHEATED is in a race for the spot of Valedictorian against another student in the same class, who earned a lower grade, and this will greatly affect their chances at this honor. Joe also stated "... a retest and an apology would be the proper thing to do. but no one will stop until someone admits that they are wrong because it is unfair to those students who took their tests straight up and didn’t test." I also made the readers of this aware that this is ongoing because nothing was done about it.
To refer back to David's quickly, "the teacher should mix it up not be dumb and give the same exact test as he found on the internet the teacher needs to not be lazy. But the student should also be punished for it." (Comment 6) As you have stated, there is a significant amount of blame to be placed on the teacher. I do not consider a re-take a "punishment", the normal punishment for CHEATING would be a 0 on the test accompanied by a few days suspension. I cannot understand why this case was simply swept aside. David also made the point that "I think you should get the real story on here and fix what you put into your blog." I agree 100 percent on this. With the lack of respect that you showed the honest students by not helping them, you owe it to them to at least right the story that you got wrong.
Just as an example to reinforce the fact that honest students now are feeling like they are being slighted because they did not CHEAT, I will include an excerpt from Crystal "For those who are questioning if students are learning anything from getting the answers off-line, students still need to show work on parts II, III and IV on our math tests and this is true in the sciences as well. The answer keys provided do not show how to get the answers, only the end result. So a student who goes on-line to get problems to study from, still needs to figure out how to get to the answer of the problem, and isn’t the process more important than the answer anyway?" This is not true, when you have the exact question in front of you it is a matter of memorizing the answer, not the process.
For some reason, I feel that I need to include the definitions, in the mind of a student, of both CHEATING and studying. It is becoming apparent to me that teachers are confused on the meaning of these words. To myself, as a student, studying would be looking over previous class notes along with looking at old Regents exams online. CHEATING would be defined, in my mind, as someone taking 24 questions off a mid-term, finding the exact questions and answers and printing them out to "study" before the exam.
I apologize for taking so much of your time, however I am hoping that you at least did me the courtesy of reading all of this and taking it into great consideration. I know that I cannot change what already happened. The grades, fair or unfair, are in, the tests are over and the students are furious. I just hope that if something like happens again, you will handle it with more respect to all of your students than in this instance.