August 30th, 2012 | University

Harvard students caught up in cheating scandal

Harvard Yard
Harvard Yard Photo by ChenSiYuan/Creative Commons.

Harvard’s Administrative Board is investigating 125 undergraduates for cheating on a take-home final exam.

In what Boston.com calls “the largest cheating scandal in recent memory to hit the Ivy League,” nearly half of the students in the lecture “Government 1310: Introduction to Congress” are accused of collaborating by email or other methods on short-answer questions and an essay for the final exam. The final was open-book and open-note but not intended to be discussed with others.

After a teaching fellow grading the final in May noticed similarities between several students’ exams, the Ad Board spent the summer reviewing each exam (there were nearly 300) and interviewing certain students. Students whose tests seemed unusually similar to each other’s have now been contacted, and they will go before the Ad Board individually in the next couple of weeks. Students found guilty of academic dishonesty could face a yearlong suspension.

Jay Harris, Dean of Undergraduate Education at Harvard, told the Harvard Crimson that the number of students involved in cheating was “unprecedented in anyone’s living memory,” and that the college decided to announce the investigation to start a larger conversation about academic integrity measures. According to Boston.com, the college will consider preventive measures, such as an academic honor code.