Wednesday June 19, 2013
Medical Student Cheating- Is it Institutionalized?Dr. Phillip Leveque, Doctor of Pharmacology Salem-News.com
"Cooperate and Graduate": When cheating is the norm.
(PORTLAND, OR) - The New York Times, September 15th 2012, reports “125 Harvard University students cheating on a final exam” by Rebecca Harrington, Harvard 2008. Other reports from all over the country report similar shenanigans even at West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy.
What gives? Best grades get best internships!!! It doesn’t seem to make any difference where one is or what university, grades are the ONLY thing that matters. We have read about the upward slide of grade points. A 4.0 grade point at one time really meant something. It seems now a student can get that by attending class.
The New York Times article ‘Song of the Cheaters’ indicated that Harvard has had this “problem” for generations and the college newspaper, The Crimson, reported that 40% of students at large colleges admitted to cheating.
My own observations about “cheating” are a little different. I have a B.S. in Chemistry, an M.S. in Biochemistry, an M.S. in Pharmacology, a PhD in Pharmacology and a Doctorate of Osteopathy. I went through the medical school curriculums twice, once for my PhD and second for my D.O. I was within a year of a PhD in Biochemistry when I had the opportunity to get into med school for that Ph.D.
For my Biochemistry degrees there was no way to cheat and I made the Dean’s List with 3.5 or better. When I got to med school things were academically severe and I worked my butt off but ended up with a C or 2.0 grade point average and a flunk in Microbiology which was my second major. The final exam class average grade was 93% and I got a 92%, a 93% was a C grade. I knew several of my classmates from before med school and I knew I was just as smart as they were. How did they get such high grades?
I don’t know the answer but I found out that the med school fraternities had files of all previous exams with the correct answers and the frat boys studies those. Was that cheating?? It surely made for very high G.P.A’s.
At my second medical school, the classes had ‘note pools’ of all current lectures but also complete files of every previous school exam and the National Board Exam questions and answers. The students studied the previous exams to get the grade.
In all cases, I got the idea that the students, my classmates, had friends in other medical schools and that the process was wide ranging in many med schools. It was sort of a med students versus faculty in all cases.
The exams were mostly multiple choice and machine graded so that the faculty didn’t actually see and grade them.
My brother is a graduate of a Dental school. He told me the students motto of the place was “COOPERATE AND GRADUATE” so I believe even they had a similar system.
The report about Harvard had a final comment:
THE DEBATE OVER ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IS NOTHING NEW
Got a question or comment for Dr. Leveque?
More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.
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