Investigation underway for potential academic integrity breaches

University District

Second-year commerce students receive perfect marks after writing a reused exam 

Credit: 
Journal file photo

A class of second-year students all received 100 per cent on their midterm exams this October. 

The Smith School of Business is now investigating any potential breaches of academic integrity.

According to Commerce Society President Bhavik Vyas, the professor reused an old midterm from three years ago for his current second years. The test was open-book and many students had brought the completed 2013 midterms with them.

In a message to The Journal, one of the students in the class wrote that in preparation for the open-book midterm, he had acquired several copies of old tests from upper year students and professors within Commerce, and brought them along. This practice isn’t unusual, as past exams are stored for student practice in a University wide Exambank.

“When I got the exam, I flipped to the first page and saw it was the exact same question as the 2013 midterm, and then the same happened for the second and third question on the exam,” he wrote.

“Throughout the exam I felt guilty for having the 2013 midterm since I knew many of my peers had a better grasp on the material than I, but I still likely would be getting a higher mark because I got lucky and brought in the right midterm.”

After concerns about the repeated test were brought to the professors’ attention, all students enrolled in the course were given 100 per cent on the exam.

Speaking to The Journal, Vyas said the Smith School holds their professors to a higher standard than this sort of repetition. 

“From the perspective of someone who is incredibly passionate about and whose role oversees academics within the Commerce program, this begs the question: are professors and students being held to the same standard when it comes to academic integrity?” he said.

Furthermore, he believes there should be more policies and procedures to prevent “very negative situations like this” from happening again. 

“Is it time to rethink the base level standard of care and teaching competency that professors and educations have? The majority of students do not pay too much attention to the positional legitimacy of a professor.” 

However, he believes that a greater majority of students will take a course more seriously, work harder, and have more academic integrity themselves if they see a professor “demonstrating passion and care for the course, the students, and the academic experience.” 

According to Lori Garnier, Executive Director of the Commerce Program, the faculty became aware of the issue shortly after the exam was written. 

“As in all such situations, we are following our standard procedures as we look into the matter,” Garnier said. 

Corrections

According to a clarification provided by Queen's Communications after publication, the professor of the course is not being investigated however any students who are found to have breached the Smith Academic Integrity Policy may face sanctions impacting their grade. This article has been updated to reflect this information. 

The Journal regrets the error.

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