AP statistics classes under investigation

By Gianella Ordoñez

Over the past two weeks, an ongoing investigation of two AP Statistics classes has been occurring, regarding an incident where students were caught cheating on an exam.

AP statistics teacher Angie Esswein declined an interview on the situation but did comment on her initial reaction.

“Cheating on a test can feel like betrayal to a teacher after one works hard to write fair and accurate assessments and teaches the material that is covered on the test,” Esswein said.

After one student took a picture of a ¨cheat sheet¨ they created with answers to the test, it was sent to a group of students on various social media platforms, who then proceeded to continue to spread the image. Some students used the cheat sheet to prepare for the exam, while others chose to ignore it.

Word eventually got out to administration, which has identified all the students who were involved and given out consequences to these students, AP statistics students Sidney Cheung and Sylvie Xu said.  

Dean Steven Puccinelli said that with cases like these, the administration usually looks at whether it is their first offense. Then it is his job to talk to the student about academic integrity and what consequences they will be facing.

For first offense students, the consequences vary from a zero on the assignment or test to a student’s semester grade being lowered a full letter grade, or even suspension from school depending on the extent of the violation, according to the FUHSD Academic Honesty Policy.

In situations like this one, all students who were involved in any way were ultimately found at fault and given certain consequences depending on the extent of their involvement, Puccinelli said.

Xu was sent the photo by a classmate in a group chat, but denies using it for the test.

¨We all try really hard for this class … and the fact remains we did not cheat and they did not believe us,¨ Xu said.

Puccinelli gave more insight on integrity and how it has to be upheld from multiple perspectives which makes it difficult to trust what the student says.

¨Even if a student denies it … the integrity of the test is compromised [we] cannot trust that this is your information,¨ Puccinelli said.

Xu will be facing consequences regardless because she came into contact with the photo and for the fact that she knew about the situation but failed to report it, Xu said. This is in line with the protocol that Puccinelli described.

Puccinelli said when a student has knowledge of a violation of academic integrity they should report it because then they will also be found at fault.

Xu’s grade will be lowered a whole letter grade. Sbe believes the consequences are unfair and alternatives should have been put in place for those who did not cheat.

“We offered alternatives…we [were] willing to take the test [again],”Xu said.  

Puccinelli said that the only person can truly know what happened is the student themselves and he described the meaning of academic integrity.

¨Integrity is about being able to look at yourself and know in your own heart if you’re doing right or wrong,¨ Puccinelli said.