Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. school board's cheating policy irks teachers

New rules brought down by Newfoundland and Labrador's largest school board open the door for cheating, the president of the teachers' union says.
Teachers are critical of a new school board policy in eastern Newfoundland that allows cheating students a second chance to write a test. (CBC)

New rules brought down by Newfoundland and Labrador's largest school board open the door for cheating, the president of the teachers' union says.

The Eastern School District distributed new rules this month that call on teachers to no longer enter a mark of zero for a student caught cheating, but to instead arrange for a new test.

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The district points out that other disciplinary measures can still be used, such as suspensions.

But Lily Cole, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association, said the rules send the wrong message to students.

"I think there has to be consequences," Cole told CBC News.

"Responsibility, respect and honesty and citizenship [are] what the social part of education is all about, and we are really missing the boat on this one."

The new regulations state "any attempt by students to gain (or assist in gaining) unfair advantage (i.e., cheating) shall result in the student not receiving a grade on that particular assessment."

Parents are to be notified, the new regulations say, and "an alternate and appropriate assessment shall be arranged within a reasonable time frame. The student's mark shall be derived from the second assessment." [Read the regulations here.]

The policy also applies to work that is submitted late.

Cole said the regulations send a weak message to students about the consequences of cheating.

"What [our] teachers are upset about, and us as well, is that what we are demonstrating is that we are enabling them to cheat because there is no deterrent," she said.