In a letter sent to his Aural Skills IV students, assistant professor of theory and member of the Eastman Academic Integrity Committee, Professor William Marvin stated that there was a problem with academic integrity on the third assigned take-home diction assignment of the semester – Lacrymosa from Mozart’s ‘Requiem.’The assignment stated, “you may listen as many times as you like, but you may not refer to a published score for the answers, nor may you collaborate or request help from another student or a tutor on this assignment.”After examining the completed assignments, Marvin determined that several of the answers on many of the students’ assignments could not have been determined without the assistance of a published score. In the letter Marvin said, “In spite of some cleverly planted errors, I have detected numerous answers that could not have been found through an honest attempt at the assignment.” An number of scores of the assigned dictation had been checked out during the time period in which the homework was assigned. Names of students who checked out the score could be obtained through Voyager, the library’s cataloging system. In addition, there are specific reports that contain the names of students gathering the score at the library’s reserve desk. Students enrolled in the class have been speculating about how many students actually cheated on the assignment. One student estimates that 75 percent of the classes cheated on the assignment. Marvin gave students until March to turn themselves in. He said that students who cheated will be punished in accordance with the school’s academic integrity policy. Eastman’s academic integrity policy states that a “student may claim credit only for work that is genuinely his or her own. In conveying the impression that the student himself or herself is the source of ideas actually taken from others, whether by intention or carelessness, the student is guilty of plagiarism.” Punishment for plagiarism depends on the severity of the case, and can range from redoing the assignment to failing the class and being expelled. Students have the right to appeal decisions. Marvin declined to comment on how the students will be punished.Many students feel that the difficulty of the assignment led students to plagiarize. In his letter, Marvin said that some answers on the assignment could not be obtained without a score. Sophomore Zach Hemingway said that he didn’t have problems with the assignment, but “most of the students in the class had trouble with it.”One of the accused students, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of being punished by the theory department, said “Why would we be given an assignment so difficult that you would find it necessary to start off assuming no person will make a 100 no matter [how] many times he or she listens? Shouldn’t it be assumed that we are being given the skills so that everyone should at least, in theory, be able to ace it?”Hemingway said “Some of [the] people cheated was [because they needed] a good grade, but that is not the only reason. [They needed to save time.] Completing a dictation takes a [lot] of time and this amount of time isn’t something that a lot of us have.”Hemingway doesn’t know if the theory faculty will see this incident as a wake-up call. “I think in general Eastman students are so pressed for enough time to get all their work done and practice, that the emphasis is starting to be placed on just getting the work done, instead of learning something from it. I’d like to see that changed.”Students said that despite te difficulty of the assignment, they still believe there is no excuse for cheating. sophomore Kyley McClain said “I don’t think the cheaters were justified. I didn’t cheat. I personally have come to the realization that I will not get an A in aural skills.” But she continued by saying that Eastman’s competitive atmosphere and students’ desire for perfection can lead students to cheating. “Eastman makes students feel like they have to be perfect, and anything less than an A is unacceptable.”Gorode can be reached at kgorode@campustimes.org.



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