Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

cancel ×

210 comments

Expensive cheats (1, Troll)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856834)

Wow, those R&S analyzers are some serious tools! I was just looking at frequency analyzers over at DealExtreme, where they have a dirt-cheap handheld model that sniffs out cellular frequencies for $60. Or they could have hung a cell jammer in the room for about a hundred. Or if they really thought they had to have the fancy gear, they probably could have hired in a contractor who would have sniffed around for maybe $300 per hour, and known what he was doing.

Was it was really worth the $40,000 they probably spent on them?

Oh, that's right. It's a government organization. Spending money is in their job description.

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856896)

I imagine the gov is more interested in easily catching cheaters, not preventing them.
And it probably likes the idea of catching innocent people who just appear to be cheating by circumstantial evidence.

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856924)

wonder what would happen if i placed a burner phone under the seat of someone i hate and set a web service to send me daily text messages at specific times.
I can get stock quotes at just the right times if I want.

The more monitored we become the easier it is to let the law screw with people you dont like or need out of the way.

Re:Expensive cheats (2)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856974)

I would imagine that simply having a cell phone signal near you would not be enough to qualify you as a cheater. More likely, they used the presence of the cell phone signal to investigate further for other signs of cheating.

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857352)

"I would imagine that simply having a cell phone signal near you would not be enough to qualify you as a cheater."

No, it wouldn't. At most, it means there were cell phone signals in proximity. Could be as simple as someone with a smartphone they forgot to turn off, which checked for email (or was pushed email) during the exam. They were supposed to be off, but simply being on doesn't rise to the level of "cheating," which is a pretty strong accusation.

Re:Expensive cheats (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857462)

And, when drunk driving laws were first introduced, simply having a BAC above a certain number was not enough to guarantee a DUI conviction- they had to actually prove you were impaired.

But then MADD pushed to make it a 'per se' law- meaning just having a Blood Alcohol Content above a certain number was enough to make you guilty. Doesn't matter if you are a hardcore drinker and .090 barely makes you buzzed- you're illegal. Meanwhile, that 110-pound girl over there who's never drank before and is obviously crocked out of her gourd? She's only .075, and is perfectly legal.

The point being- laws which start of well meaning, often are twisted into draconian parodies of themselves. It would not surprise me in the slightest if the rule against 'cheating on a test with a cell phone' morphs into 'having a cell phone during a test'. After all, maybe you erased the incriminatory text messages before handing it over, or maybe you were about to cheat....

Re:Expensive cheats (0)

jianan4115 (1925758) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856980)

Really don't understand these things do anything more buy maplestory mesos [mesosok.com]

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857562)

This was a test for an exam for a job, not a school exam. Why would you hate someone you just met enough to sabotage their exam?

Re:Expensive cheats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857546)

Because they want to spend more money punishing the cheaters rather than having more people who actually know a lot about the topic they wrote their test on?
Sounds reasonable.

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856948)

Was it was really worth the $40,000 they probably spent on them? Oh, that's right. It's a government organization. Spending money is in their job description.

Maybe the officials in charge of finding cheaters cheated on their math tests.

Easier fix. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857014)

Administer exams in a low, low basement room, or in an area with no cell service.

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857024)

That because if they don't spend all the money, their budget will shrink. Like hungry baby birds, you have to constantly scream for more.

Re:Expensive cheats (2)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857116)

Wow, those R&S analyzers are some serious tools! I was just looking at frequency analyzers over at DealExtreme, where they have a dirt-cheap handheld model that sniffs out cellular frequencies for $60. Or they could have hung a cell jammer in the room for about a hundred. Or if they really thought they had to have the fancy gear, they probably could have hired in a contractor who would have sniffed around for maybe $300 per hour, and known what he was doing.

Was it was really worth the $40,000 they probably spent on them?

Oh, that's right. It's a government organization. Spending money is in their job description.

You were doing fine right up until you pulled that number out of your ass and segued into an anti-government rant. TFA doesn't say it cost 40k to do this.

Re:Expensive cheats (2)

Zipo Bibrok 5e8 (82846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857202)

The FSH4 specified on TFA is not cheap. Add custom programming and you're probably well over $40,000 for three of them even without typical government contract bloat.

http://www.google.com/search?q=FSH4&tbs=shop:1,p_ord:pd [google.com]

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857448)

And, of course, it will cost another $40,000 to run the same test?

Re:Expensive cheats (2)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857464)

Yeah they aren't cheap, the low end of the prices listed on that google search seem to tally with what the base price would have been (I had to work the education discount backwards to figure out the base price) for ordering direct from R&S (we bought a FSH8 recently at uni).

No idea if the police would have got a discount , what the custom setup actually consisted of (it may well have just been setting up the right frequency ranges) or whether they bought any extra options (extra options can seriously add to the cost but i'd think the base model hardware would be sufficiant for this job).

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

fsterman (519061) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857470)

They could have just borrowed it from another governmental organization...

Re:Expensive cheats (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857118)

Cell Jammers are normally illegal.

A far better idea is to make a test center room that is a faraday cage. Now you are blocking everything, not just cell phones.

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

ogl_codemonkey (706920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857518)

Cell Jammers are normally illegal.

A far better idea is to make a test center room that is a faraday cage. Now you are blocking everything, not just cell phones.

Everything outside of the room - it wouldn't stop (or detect, as in this case) cheating between examinees.

Re:Expensive cheats (2)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857578)

Excuse me, but how do you reach a cell phone tower to share data from inside a Faraday cage?

Built-in walkie talkie systems might be able to connect, but most such in modern cell phones are simply free use of the local cell system for other subscribers. They still require the cell towers.

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

ogl_codemonkey (706920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857664)

I was thinking something a lot easier, and more convenient for a bunch of examinees - like the peer-to-peer Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on their phones.

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857676)

Excuse me, but how do you reach a cell phone tower to share data from inside a Faraday cage?

Built-in walkie talkie systems might be able to connect, but most such in modern cell phones are simply free use of the local cell system for other subscribers. They still require the cell towers.

My phone has WiFi, and with the proper motivation I could smuggle a router in my anus.

Re:Expensive cheats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857334)

Was it was really worth the $40,000 they probably spent on them?

Oh, that's right. It's a government organization. Spending money is in their job description.

If they use them for 5-10 years, the cost is amortized to less than what is probably spent on office supplies in a given year.

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857336)

Wow, those R&S analyzers are some serious tools! I was just looking at frequency analyzers over at DealExtreme, where they have a dirt-cheap handheld model that sniffs out cellular frequencies for $60. Or they could have hung a cell jammer in the room for about a hundred. Or if they really thought they had to have the fancy gear, they probably could have hired in a contractor who would have sniffed around for maybe $300 per hour, and known what he was doing.

Was it was really worth the $40,000 they probably spent on them?

Oh, that's right. It's a government organization. Spending money is in their job description.

What's worse is this... I've never cheated on an exam, but if it were me in class, I guess I'd be suspected of being guilty of such. Something to do with owning a smartphone that's always sending and receiving data (besides the normal stuff, it checks my servers to make sure they are online and running every 3 minutes, and does a variety of similar things).

I guess in reality, they only proved that people didnt turn off their cell phones. As circumstantial evidence, assuming that rule was clearly disseminated, I guess it is sufficient evidence to "prove" cheating.

Re:Expensive cheats (2)

ogl_codemonkey (706920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857510)

At our exams, it was always clearly explained in the handbook, in the starting announcements, and on the cover page of the top sheet on each desk's papers that phones and electronic devices are to be on the desk, screen up, and turned off; and that if you're found to be violating that rule it will be considered as evidence of 'possible cheating, or attempting to do so'.

It'd be difficult to misinterpret that.

Do any relevant institutions /not/ have similar rules and procedures?

Re:Expensive cheats (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857568)

Do any relevant institutions /not/ have similar rules and procedures?

Dunno, we were still using stone tablets when I went to college.

Re:Expensive cheats (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857570)

You'd be better off having something else monitor the servers and push an alert to you on a status change...

Actually that's not entirely true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857346)

Was it was really worth the $40,000 they probably spent on them?
Oh, that's right. It's a government organization. Spending money is in their job description.

The actual price isn't that different from retail. The rest are kick backs for the purchasing officer and his superiors.

Great Spectrum Analyzer (2)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856842)

I use the FSH4 at work - nice little SA - interesting use for it.

Re:Great Spectrum Analyzer (3, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857494)

Yeah, I have a FSH8 (which is closely related to the FSH4 but goes to 8GHz) in my office and it's a really nicely designed peice of kit. It's light, the controls are responsive and well designed, the dyamic range is good (at least compared to the anritsu I don't have anything else to compare it too).

Much nicer to use than the anritsu MS2036A we have.

Re:Great Spectrum Analyzer (1)

mla_anderson (578539) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857754)

Do the FSH's run WinXP as well? I've got the FSQ26 which is part spectrum analyzer (26GHz) and it's a great tool except when Windows crashes on me.

Good! (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856844)

This can't be a bad thing, if it raises the quality and character of prospective government workers...

Re:Good! (1)

potus98 (741836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856888)

Or perhaps this approach only ensures that *smart* prospective workers are weeded out. Okay, "smart" is subjective so substitute "motivated and creative."

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34856994)

No, the smart ones didn't get caught...

Re:Good! (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856914)

TFA says it caught them cheating. It didn't say they were disqualified. For all we know, cheating may have been a prerequisite for a gov't job.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857730)

TFA says it caught them cheating. It didn't say they were disqualified. For all we know, cheating may have been a prerequisite for a gov't job.

Wall Street just called. They want their employees back.

I would like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34856854)

How do they manage to use their phones/other wireless devices without being seen. Maybe the classes are huge...

Might not have been cheating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34856858)

Perhaps they just had Windows 7 phones.

Thankfully.. (0)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856874)

You need a warrant to do things like that (in the U.S.)...right?

Re:Thankfully.. (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856904)

Why would you? What is being searched?

Re:Thankfully.. (2)

TD-Linux (1295697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856922)

No, there is no law that prevents other people from seeing that you are broadcasting signals, much like there is no laws that make it illegal for a police officer to notice that you are smoking a joint.

Spectrum analyzers don't decrypt the signal, they only check for its presence.

Re:Thankfully.. (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856926)

IANAL, but possibly not. They didn't go out into the general pubic with these, they monitored a group of people who had already implicitly agreed to partially forfeit their expectation of privacy. They knew they were being monitored for cheating, but possibly didn't know exactly how. In the US, if this went to court, it could be a tricky case. BTW, either way they wouldn't need warrants, since they weren't law enforcement (I think).

Re:Thankfully.. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857350)

They weren't monitoring their conversations/texts.

The weren't listening in.

A spectrum analyzer as the article mentions simply says there is a cell phone signal emanating from a location.

They don't even have to be in a call at the time. All they would need is to have a powered on cell phone on their person.

Since (presumably) cell phones are forbidden in the test room, you simply walk in, use your detector to locate and walk over to the cell phone holder and demand it.

TFA says:

The devices checked for signals from pagers or mobile phones near the test site.

Those sitting for the exam are supposed to shut off their mobile phones to stop test answers from reaching them via calls, text messages or vibrations.

There was no search. There was no wiretap. Simply the detection of a powered on cell phone in an area where they were prohibited.

Re:Thankfully.. (1)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856932)

Why would you need one? You could simple add something like this on the form you sign to take part of an exame. You hereby abide by this contract to not use any form of outside or electronic help during the course of this exam. And also to not use any type of communication device, included but not limited to cellphones. You also accept that during the exam, on the vicinity of the exam room, a device will be installed to monitor inbound and outbound communication, to scan for possible attempts to have external help. And you acknowledge and accept the fact that the evidence found by such devices can and will be used to investigate and if found guilty, exclude the guilty part from the rest of the procedures.

Of course you cover it in legalese and doesn't right amateurish like I did. In any case I can't understand why someone would think this is wrong.

Re:Thankfully.. (1)

jrmcferren (935335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856936)

No, they are checking for the presence of a signal in the airwaves. That is as public as being able to see if you have a light on or not if the light is coming from the window. If they were looking at the contents of the transmission, that would be a wiretap (cellular is protected by law) and would require a warrant.

Exams in other cultures (5, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856884)

I have lived outside our Western culture for a while now, and there is a big difference in the idea of tests and examinations. We have the idea that the test is there to see who is competent to get the job. Simple, right? Nope, it's our own cultural biases that make us think this way. Elsewhere, it's all about getting what comes after the test. Your actual skill is irrelevant, not really a worthy topic of discussion. It's all about the job that you can get, or the university that you can get into, or whatever. The idea that if you don't have the skills then you're not qualified doesn't translate. Eastern cultures have a long history of examinations and take a different view than we do. I know a teacher who, after repeatedly warning against cheating in his class, was fired for daring to catch his students cheating in class. The students lost face, you see, and the teacher (not the students' cheating) was identified as the cause of the problem. True story.

Re:Exams in other cultures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857306)

Er.... I didn't really get what you were saying here. You say that "Eastern cultures have a long history of examinations and take a different view than we do", but it didn't seem like you fully explained what that view was, only that it differed from the Western view.

Re:Exams in other cultures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857330)

Yep I am a bit confused

Re:Exams in other cultures (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857338)

he would be a racist if he purported to speak for another culture
besides, educated people should know what he's talking about

Re:Exams in other cultures (2)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857394)

The Western view seems to be moving towards one in which a degree, with a high GPA, is an entitlement earned by paying tuition, and instructors who upset their students by resisting this change are not helping their careers.

Re:Exams in other cultures (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857722)

All very interesting, but what's your point?

By bringing it up, I assume you feel that the eastern philosophy of cheating on tests is superior to the west's philosophy of meritocracy?

Re:Exams in other cultures (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857844)

I know a teacher who, after repeatedly warning against cheating in his class, was fired for daring to catch his students cheating in class. The students lost face, you see, and the teacher (not the students' cheating) was identified as the cause of the problem. True story.

It's very believable. I just started working in a university in Malaysia. At the start, I found from my colleagues about the pervasiveness of cheating and plagiarism in the university. However, since I found that there was very little guard against cheating, I believed that the students just thought that they would lose out if they do not cheat. That is, the system is at fault here rather than the students.

Hence, I designed my courses to make copying and cheating difficult.

It didn't take long for me to realize that my style of teaching totally bombed on the students. Many did not like it at all. They believed that what I did was "destroying their future" (-exact words they wrote in my evaluation), and they went to the dean to complain about this "most stupid lecturer they have ever seen" (-exact words). Yet another student commented, "you think you are in US or Japan, but this is malaysia" (-exact words).

True story. I only hope that after a few generations, things will start to change.

Re:Exams in other cultures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857916)

I'm a Westerner in Taiwan right now and going to graduate school and I can tell you the tests are quite rigorous (no multiple choice nonsense) and cheating is frowned upon. The only issue I have is that they seem to be too rigorous. Almost a gotcha mentality. Although they are grading on a curve. I don't know about other Asian countries, but this one seems to hold to Western standards. In contrast my wife used to teach at a lower level university in the US and her bonus pay was based on her student evaluations. Although she actually busted some cheaters, there was an incentive not to do so (IMHO because the university was more interested in money than academics).

Good! (3, Interesting)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856934)

Catch more of them!

I'm sick of the widespread mentality that cheating is not only desirable but necessary, and that if done for the purpose of "getting ahead", it's alright. I sure wouldn't want a doctor or a lawyer who cheated their way through. I want one who took every test honestly and demonstrated they actually learned the material.

Maybe if we put back the concept of "Cheat or lie (as an adult) once, career suicide for good", we could eliminate this crap. It's infected everything from police to politicians, and programmers to paramedics. If we can find better ways to ensure people actually know what the hell they're doing, instead of demonstrating they can read letters from a cheat sheet, good.

Though, part of the blame also lies with those who design the tests. Multiple choice and fill in the blank tests are obsolete. The best tests would give the taker a project to do, and should be made difficult enough that collaboration is allowed and encouraged. After all, in real world scenarios, collaboration and the ability to research are important skills at nearly everything. As an alternative, one could at the very least give essay questions that would require careful thought and don't have a single "right answer" that can be copied in.

Of course, that takes more effort to grade than running a bunch of sheets through a reader. Imagine that, giving something actual thought.

Re:Good! (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856960)

Maybe if we put back the concept of "Cheat or lie (as an adult) once, career suicide for good", we could eliminate this crap.

Or more likely, we'd end up with a ton of people being framed for it, and the weasels getting to the top more quickly.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857126)

Obviously somebody missed "Spies Like Us" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090056/
BTW: These guys would be Frank Oz in the movie.

Re:Good! (2)

Renraku (518261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857348)

Corruption is a serious issue.

A lot of classes don't teach for understanding. They may try it but if you memorize it enough you can fake understanding by simply reciting everything. Then you promptly forget these things. Perhaps if failing didn't mean we students would have to change majors or drop out with nothing to show for our $50k in debt things might change. Of course there will always be the people that do as little as possible and harass others for the answers..when I was a freshman in college I saw a lot of these people fail out on the first semester because there were several versions of the same test per class.

Re:Good! (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857864)

A lot of classes don't teach for understanding. They may try it but if you memorize it enough you can fake understanding by simply reciting everything.

It's true, you have to do a bit more work yourself, but a lot of classes cover things which can be understood in an integrated way. It's just that it sometimes takes a lot of random fact-memorizing to get to that point. You may think you understand integral calculus because you get the concepts, but you don't really understand it until you've been forced to memorize a dozen or so techniques of integration. You need to have them memorized and practiced because, if you don't, no formula sheet is going to help you identify which one is relevant to the given formula.

Now, whether classes do a good job of measuring understanding is another thing, and it could certainly be improved. But I've never let a bad class or a bad instructor get in the way of learning something I need to know.

Perhaps if failing didn't mean we students would have to change majors or drop out with nothing to show for our $50k in debt things might change.

So change majors, or don't fail. I don't really see what this has to do with the school, though. It sucks, but speaking from experience, it's far better than lowering standards.

I speak from experience. I wasn't really ready for college, and managed to fail all but one class my freshman year. I dropped out, and my parents made it very clear: They'd support me if I was getting an education, but if I wasn't, they wouldn't. I got a job and moved out.

A few years supporting myself in the Real World has given me a lot of perspective.

So when my last job evaporated (entire company went under, crushed by the economy), I collected unemployment for awhile, then decided I may as well be doing something useful while I collect unemployment, so I went to a local community college. I took a full term (trimester), participated in a competition and a club, had plenty of time to relax, and got straight A's.

Then I petitioned to get back into my original four-year university. It's much harder to get back if you've been dismissed for academic reasons than to get in the first time, but my awesome time at the community college probably said something. My first semester back, I was in four clubs, including a martial art (Hapkido). I moved from white belt to orange belt, and got straight A's.

That was last spring.

I had an internship last summer (still technically a freshman!), and last semester (also still technically a freshman!), I did pretty much all of the same things, plus I was a TA for a course I'd taken the semester before. Only two bad things happened: I got too busy for Hapkido for awhile, and I got one A-. The other three courses, I got A's. That brings me from a 0.6 GPA when I first came back to above 3.0.

I am loving every minute of it. I'm actually understanding stuff. I'm actually putting the work in. I'm being challenged, and I'm rising to the challenge. (I'm not really learning humility particularly well, at least not tonight...) I can actually appreciate what I'm being taught -- I can cut through the bullshit, I can do the tedious grunt work (and quickly!), and I can get at the heart of what I'm supposed to be learning, and it's beautiful.

If I had been allowed to pass with how badly I did? I'd have sat on my ass and played video games. I'd have coasted through as long as I could manage, then end up at some cushy sysadmin job, at least as long as those last. In fact, that's more or less the trajectory I was on throughout high school, but high school let me get away with it -- which is why I was so fucked up my first year of college.

As it is, I'm seriously considering grad school. Even if I don't, I'm setting myself up to have pretty much any tech job I want when I graduate -- and even the bad classes are fun while I'm here. It's not easy to describe how dramatically different my life is because I not only failed, I failed until I was dismissed.

I am a better person because I failed.

But that may all be offtopic. You weren't necessarily arguing that we should make failing hurt less, but I really wanted to say that we shouldn't. Financially? Sure, tuition is obscene. Bring back the estate tax, tax the churches, and put it into financial aid. But if you fail, it should hurt. It should be a Big Deal. You could've dropped the course anyway, and you had fair warning. And passing when you should fail only harms you in the long run -- I should know.

And hey, a change of majors might not be a bad thing.

Of course there will always be the people that do as little as possible and harass others for the answers..when I was a freshman in college I saw a lot of these people fail out on the first semester because there were several versions of the same test per class.

The smarter ones make it farther, but they're still around. The difference is that they don't necessarily cheat, but they also don't necessarily care. They don't care what an integral is or why it's cool, they just want to know how to do one. They won't do particularly well, or particularly poorly, though with enough effort, they could actually ace everything.

Apply enough pressure, and they'll be the ones who cheat and get away with it.

And they should be given a course which actually challenges them, which makes them think instead of memorizing.

Re:Good! (1)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857364)

I cannot mod the parent up, so I will just have to give my wholeharted approval through this reply.

Just one caveat... the forces of mediocrity have found a way to neuter the essay question, by instructing the graders to score by style rather than content. As a result, an SAT essay can be graded as well by weighing it as by reading it: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4634566 [npr.org] (admittedly, things may have changed since 2005, but for the better?)

Re:Good! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857536)

I've presented homework projects, along with a critique of the list of answers I noticed the TA left lying in the study area, and carefully did expanded work to show that I'd personally masterd the material and gone beyond those answers. It was very embarassing to the TA, who should never have been hired, but also embarassing to the professor because my paper was presented to the class as a whole as part of a surprise presentation program, and as soon as I presented the copy of the list of answers, I was kicked out of the room. It took a direct and unscheduled meeting with the professor, whose secretary kept messing up my scheduled appointments, to present him with my actual paper for review: my TA had rejected it outright and never shown it to him for any review or signing.

Sadly, my aggressiveness in demonstrating the ease and presence of cheating was accepted by the professor, but it was clear that the middle management and underlings in his department accepted it as part of standard practice, and "they would evaluate" whether students were fit to graduate, rather than actually using the tests. They let me know, after their problems with the professor with this, that they would jeopardize my funding and my PhD if this ever went further.

So, I can mention it anonymously on Slashdot, but if I told the relevant Dean at the time, I'd probably never graduate.

Re:Good! (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857550)

The best tests would give the taker a project to do, and should be made difficult enough that collaboration is allowed and encouraged.

Projects are great, but collaboration in a test is silly. It's true that later in your career, you'll be asked to work in a team, BUT you will still be expected to know all your material, not just a tiny part of it.

If people collaborate on answering a test, then the result won't be a comprehensive check of what they know, it will only show at best how good they are at answering the tiny part that they know really well, because the other parts are answered by someone else who's better than them.

For example, one student might be good at string algorithms, and another at graphics. Together, they'll submit a great project that mixes strings and graphics algorithms, but the test won't show that the first guy sucks at graphics, and the second guy sucks at string algos.

Then the first guy gets a job where he'll be put in a team on the strength of his project, and he'll be assigned some graphics work with nobody else to pass it off to.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857794)

Maybe if we put back the concept of "Cheat or lie (as an adult) once, career suicide for good", we could eliminate this crap.

Cheat once, career suicide for life?

Tell me, do you think people who get in a car accident once when they're 20 should never be able to drive again?

Re:Good! (1)

ChiRaven (800537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857908)

The problem is that such tests, where there is no objectively correct answer, are always open to charges of teacher manipulation and favoritism in grading, which takes place WAY more often than might be believed. As a college mathematics instructor, I would never consider giving any test question that did not have an unambiguously correct answer, unless it was an "extra credit" question appended to the end of an actual test where answers that I judged to be incorrect did not count AGAINST any student's score.

The only way to get around problems of this sort is to have the tests be anonymous (say, numbered for identification, but without names), and graded by someone outside the immediate school environment, then later matched with the student's identification to assign grades to students. This would remove the possibility that teachers would favor one student over another.

Scare tactics (2)

Musically_ut (1054312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856982)

Though I admit it is cool and innovative use of technology, I think there is something fundamentally wrong in trying to catch cheating by throwing everything except the kitchen sink at it. It seems to be the no-you-are-doing-it-wrong kind of a way.

After all, some other ways [slashdot.org] work too.

Government Workers? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34856992)

Too bad it's not the U.S.

If it were, I'd say: make them take a polygraph, a urine test, and walk through a backscatter machine before entering the test room.

I know those are either nearly useless (backscatter and polygraph) and of questionable value to society (urine test), but government and corporations make us take them... let them do it too.

Re:Government Workers? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857140)

Far simpler, pass a law stating that if any employee of any organization has to do those things all the execs must too. Written in such a way that if a postal employee has to piss in a cup so does the President. This sort of crap would disappear overnight.

Re:Government Workers? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857234)

I agree 100%. I have even told prospective employers that before. Really.

I said "If someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, who is likely to do the most damage to the company and its employees? Obviously the managers. Therefore, I'll pee in a cup and show you the results, if you will show me the results of YOURS."

I only did that to somebody I had learned I really didn't want to work for anyway. But I have told others that I simply won't take the test, period.

Re:Government Workers? (1)

viking_gsp (1256132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857198)

I know those are either nearly useless (backscatter and polygraph) and of questionable value to society (urine test), but government and corporations make us take them... let them do it too.

I think it's a stretch to say that backscatter machines would be useless in the attempt to catch potential cheaters. They most certainly would be able to detect hidden items on their person. What you disagree with is their obvious invasion or privacy, not their usefulness or lack thereof.

Re:Government Workers? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857212)

You realize they could hide the items in something that confuses the machines or just do what prisoners do.

Re:Government Workers? (1)

viking_gsp (1256132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857314)

What exactly would they hide a cell phone in to confuse the machine? Additionally, a human interpreter of the backscatter image would be able to detect an anomaly of this kind more times than not. Additionally, it would be a bit conspicuous to "de-keister" an object during an exam. But I take your point. I'm not defending the usage of the machine. I'm simply pointing out that it would not be useless for this purpose.

Re:Government Workers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857230)

I think the backscatter machines can miss a lot of stuff. The only way one is going to stop a determined terrorist if if the damned thing falls over and crushes him.

Re:Government Workers? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857284)

So you're a mind-reader? Interesting. Please teach me your technique. On second thought, never mind, since you didn't even come close.

No, I question their usefulness. They have shown to be nearly useless, for example, at detecting certain kinds and configurations of explosives. I believe they would probably be equally useless at detecting, say, cheat notes under your shirt.

And let's not forget the health questions that are raised by the ionizing radiation. Even the radiation that bounces off excites molecules in the skin, and those that don't are absorbed. These devices have NEVER been given a bill of health by any medical authority.

Re:Government Workers? (1)

viking_gsp (1256132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857344)

So you don't think they would detect a cell phone? Perhaps they wouldn't catch everything, but they most certainly catch a cell phone, thus making them effectively useful for this purpose (barring the earlier, far more difficult, keistering suggestion). I never said anything about health consequences or moral issues pertaining to their use. I simply said they would be useful and effective to detect cell phones on potential cheaters, as the article in question is debating.

Re:Government Workers? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857414)

I grant that they would probably detect a cell phone hidden under the clothing.

Re:Government Workers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857224)

Too bad it's not the U.S.

If it were, I'd say: make them take a polygraph, a urine test, and walk through a backscatter machine before entering the test room.

Ha. If this was the USA, they would get sued for administering the test in the first place. Really.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/24/AR2009042402305.html [washingtonpost.com]

If an employer has a test, and blacks do poorly on the test, you're going to be spending millions in legal fees.

Re:Government Workers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857278)

Most (all?) Top Secret clearances require polygraph testing, so actually this already happens.

Re:Government Workers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857380)

Oh no, urine tests are useless too. They generally test for a change in the properties of your urine, not the actual drug.

There are plenty of products on the market that will rejigger the chemical ratios back to "normal". It's a lot like faking a polygraph, you just have to spike the "controls" so that the "variables" are relatively low.

I worked at a headshop in HS and sold thousands of dollars of the stuff, we had plenty of repeat customers. I also got a suprise test when the IT company I worked for did a government job (some law requiring drug tests). The recruiter/future millionaire chemist was prepared for this. He delayed the test, went to his home lab, mixed up something, and we all passed.

Seriously, he sold a patent for a transdermal delivery system for a generic drug and now lives in Mexico.

Kids have it too easy... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857108)

Using cell phones to cheat? All we had were a couple cans and a crummy piece of string. But we got by... Next they'll ask for transportation, too, I'll bet.

Disrespectful punks, get off my lawn!

What a Load of Shi* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857114)

They didn't find cheaters, they found idiots who didn't turn their phones off!

Using an FS4 to find someone with their phone turned on is nothing other than a waste of money and will most likely be a one of case of killing the chicken to scare the monkey.
 

False postives? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857144)

They were suspected. That does not mean they actually were. Also how many false negatives?

And why allow phones in the first place? Just do not allow anything that can be used for cheating, including pens. Provide people with what they need. If they need a calculator, then give them a calculator. If people need a pen and paper, then give them pen and paper.

From experience I know that you can open a pen and put paper in it. (Also I know that by re-writing the cheating paper several times, because it was to big, I was actually learning and in the end did not need the cheat sheet, because I knew what was on it.)

Re:False postives? (1)

TD-Linux (1295697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857218)

I think the point was that cell phones weren't allowed, and so any cell phone usage detected could be assumed as cheating, if not at least breaking the rules of the test.

Re:False postives? (1)

Meshach (578918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857282)

And why allow phones in the first place?

While that is an admirable aspiration I think that cell phones / smart phones have reached the point that disallowing them is no longer practical.

My sister is a high school math teacher and she says that in her school students are not allowed to use a phone during class but she still confiscates at least one per week. Normally the kids are not cheating but just texting friends. Actually the second most common is taking pictures of the exam paper! In any case the teachers only recourse is to confiscate the phone, give it to the VP, and make the student go and get it back while explaining why they were using it in the first place.

Test with no collaboration and no open book / gool (2)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857162)

Test with no collaboration and no open book / Google are not the real world and just lead to people who can pass the test but have no idea on how to do the work.

The tests need be better less about memory and more hands on. Also how many people have jobs when having a book, reference guide, google, a manual, and more is banned and having others working / help with you is a no no?

Windows Phone 7 = FAIL (0)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857180)

Wouldn't this falsely convict anyone carrying a Windows Phone 7 phone [arstechnica.com] , which sends tons of data unbidden?

Re:Windows Phone 7 = FAIL (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857304)

Not if the person thinks to turn their cell phone off.

LOL (3, Funny)

TafBang (1971954) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857208)

brb, going to text my friends during their finals

Re:LOL (1)

Meshach (578918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857298)

brb, going to text my friends during their finals

You mean your former friends?

fdsgfs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857252)

-Something unexpected surprise

hello everyone,im wholesale supplier online==

our website:===== http://www.shoesforking.com/ ====

Haha (1)

cloakedpegasus (1761746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857260)

I've always wondered what it would be like to take a test ala "Old School" with an earbud in my ear and a van outside sending me the answers.

Re:Haha (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857666)

There's also the Boston Public version, which involves texting the questions to Verne Troyer hiding in a locker outside the classroom

Faraday Cage Exam room (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857342)

It could be done!

our parents failed so miserably that (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857354)

Our parents failed so miserably that the only way to catch cheaters is with technology. Cause it's too hard to raise them to be upstanding adults.

I bet you they'd blame someone else if we pointed out the kids weren't raised well. (And then fuss about how today's youth won't accept responsibility, while expressing confusion over who they learned that from!)

Re:our parents failed so miserably that (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857608)

Our parents failed so miserably that the only way to catch cheaters is with technology. Cause it's too hard to raise them to be upstanding adults.

The better you can catch cheaters, the better those who are upstanding adults will do. An honor system with no verification at all merely rewards the dishonorable.

EXPENSIVE (1)

astern (1823792) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857378)

I'd like to know where the proctor for that test gets their money! Those R&S analyzers are awesome but -pricey- pieces of equipment.

toe computer with no signal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857412)

talk to it in morse code by pressing buttons in your shoes and get braile like responses tapped into your skin.

no online hookup, no detection without test takers going through a scanner.

Old news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34857476)

From TFA "The devices checked for signals from pagers or mobile phones near the test site." I'm guessing this was in the 90s.

office 2007 (-1, Offtopic)

office888 (1975546) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857492)

CeBIT show in Germany, meeting this morning, Many people like Microsoft Office [software-hotbuy.com] .we found that the Office 2007 user interface. Office 2007 [software-hotbuy.com] makes life great!You new vision can see the user interface in Office 2007 preview site features several new screenshots. Microsoft Office 2007 [software-hotbuy.com] is welcomed by the whole world. If you have a more keen to see, I've created a product from below the Office 2007 key [software-hotbuy.com] is available here. recent establishment of a full-size screenshot of small galleries. Office 2007 download [software-hotbuy.com] is on sale now! I also issued a guest article, my colleague Brad Weed, Office 2007 Professional [software-hotbuy.com] bring me so much convenience. the head of the Office of the design team wrote. Windows 7 [software-hotbuy.com] make life wonderful! He wrote a thorough, in his capacity as Office 2007 users InterfaceFirst a new visual perspective designer. Microsoft Office 2010 [software-hotbuy.com] is so great!Screenshots behind the scenes look behind the scenes, here is some basic Office 2007 program screenshots. I love Office 2010 [software-hotbuy.com] ! Back and forth so many changes M Beta 1 of Visual Effects, Office 2007 [software-hotbuy.com] makes life great!it will be difficult to make a complete list, but one thing you may notice a bat right: Quick Access Toolbar in the title bar of the couples, Microsoft Office 2007 [software-hotbuy.com] is welcomed by the whole world.groups of the team title at the bottom, The Office Button (more on that below.)sdf

Faraday cage (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857604)

Why exam rooms are simply built as Faraday cages, I'll never understand. I bet they even sell drywall laminated with foil or some such that would make it easy. Put it up, ground it, make sure the doors are steel or aluminum, no cellular or wifi at all. The rooms totally isolated.

Re:Faraday cage (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857630)

and sure enough they do make it: http://www.usg.com/sheetrock-gypsum-panels-foil-backed.html
run an unshielded ground wire down the length of every stud and every sheet will be contacting ground. Cheap and simple.

No different than IT Certification Exams (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857872)

My wife writes certification exams for a large IT company. It's not enough that her company has to create 6-7 versions of their exam and pull 100 questions out of a pool of a 1000. In older versions you could go back and check/review/revise an answer before you hit the big "Submit for Grading" button. Now the exam constantly grades you and when it determines that either you cannot pass or you cannot fail, the test is automatically ended and you score is provided. Thereby making it harder for someone to see all 100 questions on their specific test.

Why?

In Asia test takers were paid to go in, sit in the exam and just memorize as many questions as possible. Now if they miss say 31% of the questions, the exam is over (assuming you need a 70% to pass).

Not only is the exam much harder now, but it's more expensive for students to take.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...