With no teacher carefully watching students as they take assessments and open access to nearby technology, the test taking process has lost much of its integrity.
IB Biology student and senior Sanjoli Jain said there were clear signs of cheating during the first test of the year, leading to the cancellation of the scores entirely.
“Our teachers were saying that a lot of people were finishing the assessment in record time, even faster than them, indicating they had the correct answers beforehand,” Jain said. “There seemed to be some pattern with student responses that used keywords that weren’t really taught in class.”
IB Biology teacher Michael Osborn said he noticed the cheating through distinct similarities in students’ answers.
“Based on the data from the first IB Biology HL test, it became quite clear that students had sought help from each other or looked for the markschemes online during the exam,” Osborn said. “It didn’t take long to see some clear trends in people’s answers.”
Jain said students should maintain the honor system both in-person and online as an ethical principle.
“We have been taught by the honor system for our whole high school career, I am surprised people would think any different in this setting,” Jain said. “IB level classes have strict rules for testing, and while those are muddled in an online environment, they should be morally upheld by students.”
But Osborn said his hope for his students has always been the same, and the recent cheating incident will not change that.
“I honestly just want them to leave my class understanding Biology as best they can,” Osborn said. “Especially for those students entering university in pursuit of a degree in a biological field, my goal is that they leave my class truly grasping the concepts we covered.”
Osborn said he thinks the source of the cheating came from the fear of grades, especially during the first quarter for students applying for college.
“Personally, I get it,” Osborn said. “IB classes have students who often want to do the best possible job and not fall behind their classmates. So, if given the chance, and little oversight at home, it becomes a battle of internal morals versus grades.”