Friday, June 3, 2011

Cheating: things oral exams can fix (but not scalable)

It's not fun to compare the salaries of doctors to chemists, but it is fun to compare the testing regimens to get into medical school versus graduate school. Also, it's terribly amusing to see what people will do to get around that testing. From Bruce Schneier comes a story of the cheater-in-the-middle:
Police allege he used a pinhole camera and wireless technology to transmit images of the questions on a computer screen back to his co-conspirator, Ruben, at the University of British Columbia.
Investigators believe Ruben then tricked three other students, who thought they were taking a multiple choice test for a job to be an MCAT tutor, into answering the questions.
The answers were then transmitted back by phone to Rezazadeh-Azar, as he continued on with the test in Victoria, police allege.
I would find it terribly amusing to attempt to cheat during an oral exam or your thesis defense. "The pKa of that compound? Hold on a sec..."

[Obviously, there are a heck of a lot more people trying to get into medical school than graduate school. Multiple choice tests are eminently scalable; oral exams are not.]  

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