Pop Quiz Debacle

Pop Quiz Debacle

Leanne Spinale (School Teacher, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 4
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-492-5.ch010


It is now commonplace for students to bring PDAs and smart phones into the classroom, which gives them swift access to the internet. While this technology is a benefit for students conducting research for a project, it can also be detrimental for educators conducting assessments. “Pop Quiz Debacle” describes a particular quandary for educators who work with advanced placement or Gifted/Talented students. For students with a very high GPA and other academic performance, what distinguishes them is how perfect they are, so there’s no room for any kind of error. If there’s no room for error, students tend to cheat–even though these students would have done just fine on the test. They say they cheat because, “this is my safety net.”
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The Case

Mrs. Washington was a GT Specialist at Jefferson Creek Intermediate School. She enjoyed working with the GT students and strived to not only properly educate them, but to instill in them a desire to achieve higher goals.

Jefferson Creek Intermediate School had both an honor code policy and cell phone policy that was explained to the students at the beginning of each year. However, Mrs. Washington was aware that these policies were violated several times a year. The school administrators recognized that the technology policy in conjunction with the existing code policy and cell phone policy needed to be reviewed and revised, but they were concerned about parents’ viewpoints regarding more stringent guidelines and how it would affect emergency communication with their child.

One of Mrs. Washington’s favorite groups of students to work with was from Mr. Walters’ class. Lindsey, Tracy, Heather, Ian, and Brady were all very motivated learners. She could always count on them to provide lively viewpoints during class discussions. She considered them to be some of the best students in the school.

On Tuesday Mrs. Washington and the students were discussing the movie The Count of Monte Cristo. She wanted to discover how the students perceived the character’s actions. She queried first about Villefort’s decision to imprison Dantes even though he had done nothing wrong.

The students offered many possible reasons for Dantes’ decision however it seemed to Mrs. Washington that the students were dismissing Villefort’s behavior and not holding him accountable for his actions. Mrs. Washington prompted. “so you are saying that Villefort’s actions were permissible?”

Again, the students offered possible reasons why such a decision may be permissible.

“Last week we discussed the concept of integrity. Did Villefort act with integrity?” asked Mrs. Washington.

“Well,” said Brady, “it’s all about honesty and Villefort wasn’t being honest, but I bet if you asked him he could explain why he did it. I bet he felt like he had a good reason.”

The students agreed, “He sure didn’t act with integrity.”

“Well,” said Mrs. Washington, “it sounds like you think Dantes didn’t show integrity when he hid his identity, but you’re giving Villefort a pass on his actions.”

“Well, haven’t you told us that there are two sides to every story?” asked Ian. “The movie didn’t really explain why Villefort did it, but we know Dantes did it for revenge and that’s wrong,” continued Ian.

Mrs. Washington pondered this discussion for several days and wondered if the students would make decisions to forward their own goals or take the harder path and make decisions with integrity. At their next meeting she discussed the concept of integrity again and how it might apply to them.

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