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2002 Nov 13 12:37

The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox] code sleuths needed - cheating suspected
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Re: [vox] code sleuths needed - cheating suspected



Well, I know when I'm cheating I'm guilty of all of those inconsistences and 
when I'm not cheating it's all uniform to my style.  I haven't looked at the 
original sources because I have a moral quam (I'll keep my nose out of this 
business), but in general, I try to clean up as much code as possible, but if 
I'm cheating it's usually the time constraint that causes it, so some of the 
other person's code slips through.  I don't, however, copy from someone in my 
class when cheating.  Someone that took the class earlier?  Fair game.

Bring it to their attention.  See what they say.  No harm in talking about it.  
Give 'em 0's.  Make them redo it.  Make them buy you dinner and be your 
personal house painters.  You're the one with all the cards.

I hope I wrote in circles and stupidness enough to be able to deny any and all 
alleged cheating.
-Tom

On Wednesday 13 November 2002 11:29, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:
> begin donw@examen.com <donw@examen.com>
>
> > On Wed, Nov 13, 2002 at 11:06:58AM -0800, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:
> > > dear all,
> > >
> > > i suspect a student has copied a homework assignment from another
> > > student.  call them "student 1" and "student 2".
> > >
> > > [snip]
> > >
> > > i won't mention the reasons why i think the two codes are similar.
> > > instead, i'll let other people analyze it themselves.  i first
> > > suspected copying because as i read through student 1's code, i kept
> > > saying to myself "this is my own coding style".  then i remembered that
> > > i wrote part of student 2's code who came to me for help with the
> > > program.  the two of them are friends and work together.
> > >
> > > i'm curious to know what people think.
> >
> > Hmmm...while I'm hardly an expert, a few points come up:
> >   - Student 1's initial code example is very poorly commented (almost no
> >     comments).  Comments in the code turned in by student 1 for the
> >     assignment are almost idential to those in student 2's code.
> >
> >   - Variable names are identical.
> >
> >   - Indent style is inconsistent; however, this looks like a first-year
> >     class, so that can be attributed to students playing around and
> > finding a coding style they are happy with.
> >
> >   - The only thing that really bugs me is that the equation bits in the
> >     middle (inside of the for-loop) are set up in an identical fashion.
> >
> > A conclusion?  Not really much of one; it could be a copy, but then
> > again, the similarities can be accounted for because the two likely work
> > together and help each other out.  In my CS classes, when I was stuck on
> > a problem, I'd look at some sample code, and certain things (variable
> > names, specific algorithms) would often end up the same in whatever I was
> > writing, just because they were in cache at the time.
> >
> > I'd make a judgement call as a professor.  How many assignments have been
> > turned in?  Is this code uncharacteristic of Student 1's work; e.g., does
> > he usually turn in broken code, but this one works?  Do you have any
> > other reasons to suspect cheating?
>
> hi don,
>
> yeah.  quite a few things, but i still want to hear what other people
> have to say.   but i'll give one reason that people may not catch:
>
> the line:
>
>    int    N = (b - a) / h + 2;
>
> is just wrong.  i wrote this line in a rush while 30 students were
> asking for my attention.  the "+ 2" is just a hack.  it's wrong.  it's
> there because i stupidly relied on integer division.   it works for
> b=10, a=0 but doesn't work for, for example, b=10.5 a=0.
>
> another thing that caught my eye:
>
>    if ( (fp = fopen("plotpoints.dat", "w")) == NULL)
>
> inconsistent spacing of the outer parenthesis shows up in both codes.
>
> there's a lot of other things, but i'd like to hear other comments
> before i give my list.
>
> pete
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