Year: 1996-1997
Month: October
Leader: Group J

Situation/Case Study:
STUDENT ACADEMIC PROBLEM

Description:
Low achieving student turns in a test with a 100% score on the multiple choice, true & false part of the test. The essay questions were not completed. The student who has never earned a 100% score in seventh grade Social Studies suddenly scores a perfect 100%. The student usually is clowning through instructions, pulls a lot of pranks on the teacher and seldom demonstrates a serious concern for learning. The teacher even "suspects" a language problem. The only explanation the teacher can share is that the key to the test must have been copied. The key never disappeared from the teacher's cubbyhole.

Hypotheses:
Confront the student directly without putting the student on the defensive. (Members of the group were eager to provide many ways this might be accomplished.) Research why the student would "need" to cheat, i.e., the student's learning abilities and reasons for insecurity. Teacher needs to have more than one version of his/her tests depending on the number of sections of the same class. The teacher needs to have a variety of ways to test kids if some students are insecure with writing. "Never hurts to give the integrity/honesty speech."

Theories behind practice:


Impact on others:
Accusing a student of cheating without "hard" evidence. How are students from diverse cultures confronted about behavior when teacher is not sure the student understands is morally wrong? What is behind the student's need to cheat? Is there a bigger problem? Students need to know dishonesty has consequences.

Solutions:
Consult with team to get information on the student. Avoid making this student a sacrificial lamb. Is cheating the biggest problem of the student.

Comments:
This group has a very difficult time thinking of alternatives that are focused on serving the student better. They have an even harder time connecting any of their ideas, responses, solutions, etc., to research or theory. They are focused primarily on teaching the students the consequences of breaking the school rules and regulations and protecting their own legal liability. They are quick to offer fixes to each scenario without thinking of theory. Before beginning the process at this second meeting, I initiated a discussion about theories of learning and alternatives. The discussion was pleasant but most of the members, especially the secondary teachers could not get beyond the argument that they don't have sufficient time to do anything but teach their texts and "up-hold the law". They also admitted that they had little understanding of theories of learning. The very same members however expressed how they enjoyed the challenge to reflect and discuss.