Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Inductivist hits a thousand: This blog has now reached the milestone of one thousand posts. Of those, perhaps 700 or so have been data analyses, and my plan is to continue to anger the folks at the National Opinion Research Center (GSS people) by answering all the wrong questions with their data.

But let's mark the occasion with something amusing that just happened to me. After finishing his test, a black student came up to me a laid his exam on top of the stack and then proceded to ask me a long list of questions about the online course he was also taking from me. I turned away from him to pull up his information on the computer, but after a second turned my head back and he was leaning over the top of his exam and had his arms around the stack to hide the fact that he was trying to write on his exam. I told him to stay away from the test; you can't touch it after you've turned it in. He denied touching anything, but it was obvious to me that he had quickly looked at the answers on the first page of the test beneath his before placing his on top, then he had started to ask me questions about the other course so I would turn my back, so he could change his answers. He wasn't even listening to what I saying about his online course.

After he left, I looked at his test and saw that four true-false questions had been changed on the first page and thought, "The bastard has got me because I didn't actually see him change his answers, and he, of course, would claim he changed them before turning in the exam." Then I looked closer and laughed because all four answers were now wrong! He had gone to all this trouble to cheat right under my nose, and his original answers were correct! It's like I always tell my students: Don't cheat off your neighbor because chances are, he's dumber than you are.


  1. Anonymous6:43 AM

    Why is his blackness relevant to this otherwise mildly amusing story?

    "because blacks are more likely to cheat, and this is just further proof"

    Real scientists do not buttress statistical generalizations with anecdotes.

  2. @ Inductivist,


    @ Anonymous,

    Don't be so touchy, are you a newspaper editor or something?

  3. Congratulations on hitting a thousand posts. I enjoy your blog and am impressed with how thoroughly you stick to statistical evidence, as shown by the breakdown of your posts. I don't know what anon's deal is; everyone should be allowed an anecdote or two every now and then.

    It certainly does disincentivize stealing other people's answers when you know they're less likely to be correct than your own.

  4. Anonymous9:34 AM

    That's why a "No Questions During Exams" policy is great.
    Just turn your exam in, and goodbye. Questions? See me during office hours or email me.

  5. Are you still going to report the student to the dean of students or write up an academic honesty case? I know that he didn't get anything out of the cheating, but what if he goes to another class and tries to distract the teacher while he changes his grade?

    It's in the student's best interest that they get a swift lesson in the serious repercussions of cheating before they are in the business world where cheating will really have serious consequences.

  6. 700 snappy and interesting quant postings - amazing...

    A decade ago that would instead have been c. 200 turgid, padded-out academic papers - so, three cheers for the interweb!

    Thanks very much, and keep them coming - for as long as you find it fun.

  7. Anonymous3:37 AM

    So what if he cheated? You realize that your grand-dad owned his grand-dad as a slave and didn't let him learn to read, right?

    You're the real cheater here.

  8. I don't mean to be a sensitive SWPL here, but I have to agree with Anonymous. His blackness had nothing to do with the story.

    If the HDB movement is going to gain mainstream traction, always mentioning race even when it's irrelevant should stop. The anecdote was great though!

    Oh and congrats on the thousandth post!

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